Show of grit, determination at annual Terry Fox run
The run started from the East Plaza at 9am after a collective warm-up session.
Abu Dhabi - Till date, the UAE has raised Dh18 million from the annual charity run, according to organisers. Proceeds go to the UAE University for cancer research.
Published: Fri 19 Jan 2018, 8:36 PM
Last updated: Fri 19 Jan 2018, 10:40 PM
When Abu Dhabi residents came out in droves on Friday morning to take part in the annual Terry Fox run, it was a true show of community spirit. But among the hundreds of eager participants who walked, ran, skated and bicycled along the corniche, Australian Kyraa Grunnsund stood out for his exceptional show of grit and determination.
The 58-year old Paralympic skier and athlete with a prosthetic leg completed the 9K run, resonating the legacy of the Canadian hero Terry Fox, who ran the Marathon of Hope in 1981 with an amputated leg. He died at the age of 22 without being able to complete the run.
"I was born without a leg. I always wanted to play sport, and I made the best out of my situation," Grunnsund who has participated in five Paralympics and has two records in his name, told Khaleej Times.
Grunnsund was born with a congenital deformity, and ever since he was two, he has been wearing prosthesis on his right leg.
He moved to the UAE last month after his wife - a diplomat - got a posting in the UAE.
Grunnsund said he admired what Terry Fox did and consider him a true hero. "Much of what we see today in terms of cancer treatment is the result of what he started. It is sad that he is not alive to see it."
Community event to help ?cancer researchThe annual Terry Fox run, held in over 60 countries, is one of the biggest charity events worldwide to raise funds for cancer research. Till date, the UAE has raised Dh18 million from the annual charity run, according to organisers. Proceeds go to the UAE University for cancer research.
Families, residents and corporates had thronged the corniche from 7am onwards. The run started from the East Plaza at 9am after a collective warm-up session.
Julia Schamne, a German national, who took part with her family said she wanted to support cancer research. "My aunt has breast cancer and she had a double mastectomy recently. Cancer is a monster of a disease and I know personally, its physical and emotional impact is devastating."
Zoe Cooper, a hospitality professional from UK said it was a community event that brings people together for a bigger cause. "I lost my grandmother to cancer twenty years ago. Whatever improvements we see in cancer research and treatments are because of efforts like these."
UAE making headway in cancer research Funds raised from Terry Fox Runs in the UAE have given a big boost to cancer research in the country, an expert said.
Prof Frank J. Branicki from the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at the UAE University, who is also the coordinator for Terry Fox Foundation in the country said that "a total of 57 research grants had been sanctioned by the UAE University in the recent years".
"In 2014 alone, 16 research grants were sanctioned and these projects include efforts for early detection of breast and cervical cancer. Researchers are also trying to find ways to minimise the effect of chemotherapy on immunity, and reduce medical complications in patients," said Branicki who had lost both his parents to cancer.
"Currently, we have Dh3 million in the UAE fund, and we are expecting additional funds to come in after this year's Terry Fox run. Thanks to the annual fundraiser, the UAE is producing the next generation of cancer researchers in the country, and that is very good news," said Prof Branicki.