This past June marks six years since Candace Dickson’s stem cell transplant saved her life.
For years, she and her family have taken part in Thorold’s annual Terry Fox Run, beginning and ending at Thorold Secondary School.
So when September rolled around six years ago, she was determined to continue that long tradition, even though she was so weak she could barely stand, her mom, Cindy Dickson, told the Thorold News.
“Candace had just had a transplant and said, ‘I can’t miss the walk.’ She made it from the high school to Regent Street and sat in the car and waited for us to come back. The second year she did the whole thing" (completed the route).
Now approaching her 30th birthday, Candace would not be alive today had she not endured a series of radical treatments and the lifesaving transplant.
She was diagnosed at 23, explained her mom.
“Her whole body had radiation” to treat the leukemia. “They completely annihilate your bone marrow with chemo and radiation. Without the transplant, my daughter would have definitely been gone. Without this fundraising and this research, she wouldn’t be here. Twelve years ago, this was a death sentence.”
Currently working as a lab technician at the St. Catharines Hospital, Candace does bloodwork, and writes a blog about her harrowing experiences.
And although the Terry Fox Run will be a virtual event this year, she’ll be there, as always, alongside her family on Thorold streets.
On Sept. 20, there won't be a gathering of participants at Thorold Secondary School—either before or after the event—but it will continue.
A statement this week from Terry's brother, Fred Fox, said, "Canadians made a promise of their own on Sept. 1, 1980 – Terry’s dream of a world free of cancer would keep going without him. And it has, magnificently."
Faced with the hurdle of Covid-19, the goal to keep going is more significant than ever.
In May, “The Terry Fox Foundation made the decision not to hold live events due to Covid-19 worries,” explained Cindy, who was approached two years ago by long-time Thorold Terry Fox Run organizer Michael Charron to take over the event, and she agreed.
“Candace inspired me.”
“You can’t just stop it because of COVID,” she added, “because then it will stop. Millions of people die of cancer every day. You can’t stop living life.”
Cindy said she’s “sending out mass emails with the Thorold Site link asking for donations and people will choose to walk, run, bike or whatever” on Sunday, Sept 20.
“Anybody who wants to do a regular pledge through cheque or cash can come see me” at the Thorold Community Credit Union, where she works from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
“I will be setting up an account here for people who want to collect their donations (via cash and cheque) and submit it for the Thorold Run.”
Cindy is also heading up the Team Candace donation site, which is included in the Thorold totals.
Assisted by staunch supporters like Ray Philip--whose parents both died prematurely from cancer, and the McCleary clan--whose dozens of family and friends form an annual fundraising army in memory of Will McCleary, Thoroldites have raised $310,606 for lifesaving cancer research and treatments to date.
With $25,746 raised in 2019, “I’m sure we can easily surpass the $30,000 mark this year,” stated Dickson. “Our goal this year is to surpass our previous totals.”
To donate online, visit www.terryfox.ca/terryfoxrun/thorold
To donate to Team Candace, email [email protected] and Cindy will send you the link.