Our Community Champion: Marilyn Farnworth

Marilyn in one of her Terry Fox T-shirts – Photo by Lynn McLaughlin

Forty years ago, while Marilyn was a secondary school teacher, Terry Fox began his Marathon of Hope and ran through Brampton where she lived. Terry’s run was cut short when he received the grim prognosis of metastatic sarcoma. He had already lost his leg to cancer at the age of 18, and it had returned, spreading to his lungs.

Canada lost Terry in 1981 but not before he surpassed his goal of raising $24,000 for cancer research.

Marilyn has participated in the Terry Fox Run every year since 1980. Four years ago, she organized the event locally for the first time and stepped into the role of the Run Site Coordinator.

Darryl Fox with Marilyn for July 2008 Van Tour – Courtesy of Marilyn Farnworth

Marilyn formed an organizing committee and Kingsville was off and running in support of a cause that will affect each of us, if not personally, then it may affect someone we love. Nearly 1 in 2 Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.

But there is good news. Because of cancer research, we’ve had a decrease in mortality rates of 32% for men and 17% for women between 1988 – 2019.

One hundred percent volunteer-driven, The Terry Fox Research Institute and The Terry Fox Foundation run the Marathon of Hope, with support from dozens of research and funding partners across Canada, with a vision of creating a pan-Canadian network of designated cancer centres.

Marilyn and her mother 95-year old cancer survivor Leah Morris – Courtesy of Marilyn Farnworth

As we have seen firsthand with the WE-Spark Health Institute in Windsor/Essex, collaborative networks unite researchers and clinicians as they share their data and apply new technologies. When people donate, research happens.

Seventy-nine cents from every dollar donated in the Terry Fox Run goes directly to research in many types of cancer such as melanomas, leukemias, pancreatic, lung, prostate and brain cancer.

This year, Marilyn was faced with a new challenge — “One Day. Your Way!” and a virtual run. Despite the pandemic, cancer is still very real. Patients cannot wait until we have a COVID-19 vaccine.

Marilyn taking a well-deserved break – Courtesy of Marilyn Farnworth

Many turned out to walk, run, bike, urban pole, swim, golf, kayak and enjoy any activity, anywhere and anytime of the day on September 20th. Kingsville has raised $40,163 to date, and this year, despite the challenges faced by us in this community, almost $10,000 has been raised so far.

Although Terry was forced to stop running outside of Thunder Bay, Marilyn became passionate about the Marathon of Hope. She’s been participating for forty years and will continue to do so in whatever way is possible.

We look forward to next year’s run, in what we hope will be a face-to-face situation once again. Though this was her last year as Site Coordinator, Marilyn will still be participating and likely leading the way!

It’s not too late to make a donation. Visit

Marilyn with Terry Fox posters – Courtesy of Marilyn Farnworth

For Further Reading:

Cancer Research: Your Impact

What Sets Us Apart


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