Daniel High School AFJROTC to Sponsor 5th Annual Terry Fox Run

CENTRAL — In over 60 nations worldwide, millions of people will gather on the second weekend after Labor Day to participate in a local Terry Fox Run. This year’s renewal will be the 34th Anniversary Terry Fox Run, and the Air Force Junior ROTC cadets at D. W. Daniel High School are excited to be hosting, for the fifth year in a row, their own local run.

By now, you’re probably asking, “What is a Terry Fox run?” Read on.

Born in Canada in 1958, Terry Fox was an active teenager involved in many sports. At age 18, he lost his right leg to bone cancer, and while he was in the hospital, Terry was overcome by the suffering of other cancer patients, many of them young children.  As a result, he decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research, dubbing his journey the Marathon of Hope.

After training 18 months and running over 3,107 miles to prepare, Terry started his run in St. John’s, Newfoundland on April 12, 1980 with little fanfare. Although it was difficult to garner attention in the beginning, enthusiasm soon grew, and the money collected along his route began to mount. He ran 26 miles a day through Canada’s Atlantic provinces, Quebec and Ontario. However, on September 1st, after 143 days and 3,339 miles, Terry was forced to stop running outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario because cancer had appeared in his lungs. An entire nation was stunned and saddened. Terry passed away on June 28, 1981 at the age of 22.

The heroic Canadian was gone, but his legacy was just beginning. To date, over $600 million has been raised worldwide for cancer research in Terry’s name through the annual Terry Fox Runs.

And that’s where the South Carolina 941st “Flying Lion” Cadet Corps comes in.  Every year, the Air Force Junior ROTC cadets at D. W. Daniel High School are required to establish, then accomplish a variety of cadet, school, and community goals.  This is in keeping with Air Force Junior ROTC’s overarching mission of developing citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community. In 2010, the cadets at Daniel learned of Terry Fox during a classroom presentation that was part of a new, voluntary fitness initiative, and the spark was set, according to Senior Aerospace Science Instructor Major Tom Childress.

“One of the things we try to do in Air Force Junior ROTC is find ways to actively engage students in activities and initiatives that will hopefully lead to improved fitness, and eventually, a lifestyle of wellness” Childress said. “As part of our new after school fitness program, I used Terry Fox as an example of how someone can overcome barriers and improve fitness.  Then, after a little research, I realized how easy it would be to establish a Terry Fox Run right here in the Clemson area.  It’s an obvious win-win scenario, so we went with it, and we’ve had a pretty good turnout each year.  In the four events we’ve hosted so far, we’ve raised over $4,000 total for cancer research.  Our best single year total has been $1391, but we believe with the support of local communities, we can break the $1500 barrier this year.”

The Terry Fox Run, hosted by the SC-941st “Flying Lion” Cadet Corps, will take place the morning of Saturday, September 20, 2014, rain or shine.  Registration is from 8:30 – 9:00 AM and the run begins at 9:00 AM sharp.  It will begin in front of Newton Hobson Fine Arts Building on the Southern Wesleyan University campus (807 Wesleyan Drive) in Central, and is set for a 10K distance.  But one of the key aspects of Terry Fox runs is that the distance doesn’t matter.  What matters is getting maximum participation to maximize money raised.  Runners seek pledges for every kilometer they complete, and all proceeds go to the Terry Fox Foundation to fight cancer.  You can cover whatever distance you choose, walking, running, or biking.

Another unique aspect of Terry Fox runs is that there are no winners or awards, and there is absolutely no corporate sponsorship. The key to the fundraising success of these runs over the last 34 years has been the ground-level effort of the volunteers, participants, and donors, and the grassroots nature of the cause.

The cadets and instructors at D. W. Daniel High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC unit invite everyone to come by the school, talk to a cadet, or contact Major Tom Childress at to obtain pledge sheets, and then come out and join them for the run on September 20th at 807 Wesleyan Drive in Central.