Cuba's commitment to the struggle against cancer was again demonstrated with the enormous participation of people in the 2009 Terry Fox Run despite the heavy rain drenching the western part of the Caribbean island.
The country's 169 municipalities celebrated the 11th edition of the Marathon of Hope, the real tribute to the 22-year-old Canadian who died after a long battle against that illness. As is already traditional, the island's main avenues and squares were full of people supporting the cause. In the world, Cuba has the largest participation in a Run after Canada.
Event chairman Carlos Gattorno considered that the large crowd who came out despite the rain was an expression of Cuban support in the struggle against the lethal disease as well as the country's sports'organization.
Planned by the National Sports Institute and also sponsored by the Public Health Ministry, the Foreign Relations Ministry and the Embassy of Canada in Havana, funds collected as result of an art auction performed together with the race go to the National Radiobiology and Oncology Institute of Cuba for cancer treatment research projects.
Terry Fox became famous in the 1980s for his stand in the fight against cancer. Three years after losing his leg at age 18, the young athlete decided to run from coast to coast to raise money for cancer research. In creating the Marathon of Hope, his goal was to raise $1 from each Canadian citizen.
Unfortunately, Fox was unable to complete his run. His bone cancer had metastasized to his lungs and he had to stop after traveling 5 373 km. He died on June 28th, 1981, but runs continue internationally for the cause in his memory.