US & Canada

Terry Fox Run: Man, 94, raises $1m for cancer after diagnosis

Will Dwyer during a Terry Fox Run Image copyright Terry Fox Foundation
Image caption Will Dwyer during a Terry Fox Run

It took this 94-year-old Canadian nearly four decades to raise C$1m for cancer research, but he says there's no time to slow down.

Will Dwyer began fundraising in honour of his mother and nephew, but since he too was diagnosed with cancer, the cause has become even more personal.

The World War Two vet has been participating in Canada's Terry Fox Run since 1981 when it began.

The annual charity run has raised over C$750m ($568m; £463m) for research.

Mr Dwyer learned of his million-dollar achievement Friday afternoon. But instead of celebrating the milestone, he's focusing on his next goal.

"I guess I'll have to try for a second million now," he said.

His mother also died at age 51 from cancer, while Mr Dwyer was still stationed overseas just after World War Two. He also lost two adult sons to cancer, last autumn and in 2009.

But he says his biggest inspiration was nephew who had died at 22, around the same time and at the same age as Terry Fox, a prominent cancer activist.

Fox, a university athlete who lost a leg to bone cancer, made headlines when he ran 5,373km (3,330 miles) over 143 days in order to raise awareness and money for cancer research.

Dubbed the Marathon of Hope, Fox had intended to run across the country from Saint John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, to Victoria, British Columbia. But he had to stop at day 143 on 1 September near Thunder Bay because the cancer had spread to his lungs.

The following June he died, at age 22.

Image copyright ED LINKEWICH
Image caption Terry Fox ran 5,373 kilometres across Canada to raise money for cancer research

That autumn, a supporter created the Terry Fox Foundation and the inaugural Terry Fox run.

Each year, runs are held across Canada in honour of Fox.

As for Mr Dwyer, he was diagnosed two years ago with prostate cancer, which has spread to his lymph nodes.

But his son says the family recently got good news that the cancer has stopped spreading, for now.

Mr Dwyer passed his million-dollar milestone the old-fashioned way - by knocking on the doors of his neighbours in Barrie, Ontario.

Up until six months ago, the nonagenarian had been driving his own car, but his health has declined recently so his son Richard has had to help him get from house to house.

"Years ago I didn't think a whole much about it," he says.

"But probably about six or seven years ago, when he rolled over $600,000 it really started to sink in."

"Once he's started with something, he finishes it."

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