N.B. man sets out for 3rd year to collect garbage, raise money in honour of Terry Fox

·3 min read
Carl Duivenvoorden cleans up at Frye Island in support of cancer research. (Carl Duivenvoorden - image credit)
Carl Duivenvoorden cleans up at Frye Island in support of cancer research. (Carl Duivenvoorden - image credit)

When Terry Fox Runs were halted due to the pandemic, a Kingsclear man set a goal to collect 10 bags of garbage on the beach — one bag for each kilometre he'd normally complete in a Terry Fox Run.

Carl Duivenvoorden said he always participated in the Terry Fox Run, so instead of doing a solo run during the pandemic, he wanted to do something with more impact.

"In the end, I got way more than 10 bags," he said. "And it went so well that first year, I decided to do it again last year."

Last year, Duivenvoorden and his wife collected close to 50 bags of garbage at the Frye Island Nature Preserve.

His cleanups were sponsored with funds going toward cancer research. Last year, those sponsorships increased.

Even though most Terry Fox Runs return this year on Sunday, Duivenvoorden still decided to return to Frye Island and continue his cleanup.

Carl Duivenvoorden
Carl Duivenvoorden

On Saturday, he set out with a team of 10 people to collect garbage.

He wanted to double his fundraising goal from last year and raise $10,000. He said he's close to achieving his goal.

Callie Pinnock, New Brunswick and P.E.I. community director for the Terry Fox Foundation, joined Duivenvoorden for the cleanup.

Pinnock is new to the foundation this year and was inspired to join Duivenvoorden after learning about what he was doing.

"I'm here in the hopes of picking up that momentum so that we can make it bigger and bigger every year," she said.

Pinnock said volunteers are the lifeblood of the Terry Fox Foundation and Duivenvoorden "is no exception." She said his project cultivates hope which is what Terry Fox was all about.

Inspiration for the project

Duivenvoorden said Terry Fox is one of his heroes.

Fox was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer in 1977 and his right leg was amputated six inches above his knee.

Frustrated by the lack of money spent on cancer research in Canada, he embarked on a cross-country run beginning in 1980 to raise money for cancer research. His cancer returned, forcing him to stop near Thunder Bay, Ont.

"To me, [Terry Fox] stood for selflessness and dedication and determination," said Duivenvoorden.

Fox died on June 28, 1981. The first Terry Fox Run was held that September.

Duivenvoorden said cancer research is near and dear to his heart.

"Few of us are untouched by cancer," he said. "It's just a terrible disease. And that includes me, too."

His father died 30 years ago from cancer and his sister 10 years ago. Duivenvoorden also has two brother-in-laws who are cancer survivors.

He said he's missed a few Terry Fox Runs here and there over the years, but said he'll never miss another.

Being able to clean the beach while raising money for a cause adds another layer of inspiration for Duivenvoorden.

"The issue of ocean plastic in particular is huge," he said. "It seems to me this was a nice opportunity to do two good things at once — raise money for cancer research and also clean up a nice stretch of shoreline on our beautiful Bay of Fundy."