More than 24,000 people take part in the 22nd Terry Fox Run (TFR) in Ho Chi Minh City on November 18 to raise funds for cancer patients in Vietnam. (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – More than 24,000 people took part in the 22nd Terry Fox Run (TFR) in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City on November 18 to raise funds for cancer patients in Vietnam.

The 5-km run was held by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in HCM City.

In his opening remarks, TFR Vietnam Co-chair Kelly Wong said founded in Canada, the Terry Fox Run has been organised in more than 60 countries around the world. It is a non-competitive community sport event so all individuals, families and groups are welcomed to join by walking, running or cycling, he said.

“I see many people suffering different types of cancer in Vietnam and the TFR Vietnam is an important event to support research and treatment of the disease," said one of the runners, Nguyen Thi Lien from Thu Duc district.

She said she hopes that the money collected will be used to help cancer patients and improve medical facilities for hospitals to deliver better services.

This year’s TFR raised nearly 3 billion VND (130,000 VND) in funding for an international pediatric oncology hematology programme in Vietnam.

The programme supports the children’s hospital system throughout the country via the HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy and international experts, and their university hospitals.  It also aims to establish clinical and research capability within the Vietnam system for children with cancer. 

Cancer is one of the most common diseases in Vietnam, with an increasing number of young patients, including children. Vietnam each year detects more than 126,000 cancer cases, and sees 94,000 deaths from the disease, according to the Ministry of Health.

Last year, TFR Vietnam was again the biggest international TFR in the world, attracting more than 22,000 participants and raising over 2.6 billion VND (112,000 USD).

It is a day of celebrating Terry’s legacy and helping to keep alive his dream of finding a cure for cancer. To date, over 750 million USD has been raised worldwide for cancer research in Terry’s name. 

Terry Fox grew up near Vancouver, British Columbia. As an active teenager involved in many sports, Terry was only 18 years old when he was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer) and forced to have his right leg amputated 15cm above the knee in 1977. 

While in hospital, Terry was so overcome by the suffering of other cancer patients, many of them children, that he decided to run across Canada from coast to coast to raise money for cancer research. 

He called his journey the Marathon of Hope. Terry Fox ran almost 42km a day through eastern Canada, Quebec and Ontario. 

However, after 143 days and 5,373km, Terry was forced to stop running outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario because his cancer had returned. He passed away in 1981 at the age of 22. –VNA