For many, the Terry Fox Run is simply an opportunity to raise money for a good cause - but for some it is much closer to the heart.
For the family of Madrona Purvis-Fuentes, who passed away from acute myeloid leukemia at just two years old in June, the run in Nanaimo on Sunday was an opportunity to heal and inspire.
Madrona's mother Michelle Purvis-Fuentes said she felt encouraged to see the crowd that came together at Bowen Park to raise money for the Terry Fox Foundation.
She feels lucky she was able to spend the two years she did with her daughter.
"She was sweet and fabulous, she took all of the treatments with a smile," Purvis-Fuentes said.
"She was excited most of the time and she's inspired a whole community to be better people and make changes in their lives."
Madrona's story has been welldocumented in Victoria, where her family is from.
The community provided an overwhelming amount of support, including thousands of dollars in donations, when Michelle quit her daycare job to be with Madrona in B.C. Children's hospital in Vancouver and finances drained.
She recently started working again and is starting to rebuild her finances along with her husband, Rafael Fuentes.
The family came to Nanaimo to participate in the run and to celebrate Rafael's brother Fernando Fuentes's birthday.
Fuentes ran with photos of his niece in hospital stuck on boards hanging on his chest.
Rafael said cancer is a "big" disease that touches too many families.
"It's sad. It still stings," he said. The crowd of dozens included Mayor John Ruttan, who spoke about his wife's brush with breast cancer, and 65-year-old Jessie Mazzelli, who has raised almost $30,000 for the Terry Fox Foundation over 31 years of doing the run.
This year marked the 33rd annual Terry Fox Run and about $600 million has been raised through the Terry Fox Foundation.
© Copyright 2013