After three years organizing the Terry Fox Run in 100 Mile House, Burnis and Michell Taylor are looking to pass the torch to a new organizer.
The end of their tenure comes as the Taylors prepare to leave their positions as caretakers – as well as their residence – at the 108 Mile Mall, due to a change in ownership. The pair has to move out this summer and plan to head down to Vancouver Island to be closer to Michell’s family.
“I’m sad. We enjoy donating our time to a worthy cause and to have it come to an end abruptly is hurtful,” Burnis, 65, said. “We’re going to miss it.”
Burnis said he and Michell, 59, have always enjoyed volunteering in the community in some way and jumped at the chance to coordinate the Terry Fox Run in 2019. Both of them also lost their mothers to cancer, so funding research to find a cure for the disease is especially close to their hearts.
“You want to make sure that we can put an end to that disease, it’s got to end sometime,” Burnis said. “I think 100 Mile House does a lot of donating, it’s got some good people living in it.”
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The first year the Taylors organized the event, they held both a one-kilometre and a five-kilometer run, the latter starting in Centennial Park and looping under and around Highway 97. Burnis said they had live music and a concession, courtesy of the 100 Mile House Lions Club and raised more than $3,000.
“That year became a very successful year but then, of course, COVID hit after that and the last two years have been a virtual walk,” Burnis said.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Burnis and Michell stuck with it by selling shirts and encouraging people to take part in a virtual walk for cancer research. Michell said people in 2020 were really good at pledging online and following through with the walk but the numbers dropped off in 2021. During those two years, she said they raised around $3,000.
“Every little bit of money that’s raised counts,” Michell said.
They said the most critical part of their success was the team of a dozen volunteers they built to run the event. Working with them and other community members was one of the most rewarding parts for Michell.
“It’s the people you meet. You meet a lot of really nice people from all over the place doing this,” she said.
To make the event a success, Burnis said an organizer needs to be someone personable who is willing to go out into the community and talk with businesses about sponsoring the run. He and Michell would usually start this process six months before September and visit businesses multiple times to secure a donation.
While they won’t be organizing the run this year, Burnis and Michell are happy to provide the new coordinators with all the information and items they need. Anyone interested in taking on the role can give them a call at 250-791-1923.
“I hope the Terry Fox Run is something that does carry on and someone takes it over,” Burnis said.