TRURO - Sandy Chapman has always known the Terry Fox run was an important event.
But the 24-year-old Truro native never really understood just how important until his mother was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year.
"She's in the hospital right now and we decided to come here to show our support and try to raise some money," the Halifax resident said. "When something like that happens it really hits home and it sort of motivates you to want to come out and try to make sure it doesn't happen to others."
Chapman was one of 81 people taking part in the event in Truro on Sunday, which raised $4,800 for cancer research. Runs were also held in Brookfield and Great Village, however, numbers from those events were not available at press time.
Nearly everyone involved in the Truro run, which carries on the spirit of Terry Fox's inaugural Marathon of Hope in 1980 in which he set out to run across the country in an effort to raise money for cancer research, had some personal connection with cancer.
Lena Atkinson, a 51-year-old Murray Siding resident, who was on hand with her Central Nova Wesleyan Church group, lost her 19-month-old grandson to leukemia 10 years ago while her husband succumbed to lung cancer 2010.
"So I feel like it's a good cause and whatever I can do to help I will," she said.
Fox's run, which started in St. John's Nfld., was cut short just outside Thunder Bay, Ont., due to a recurrence of the disease which had already claimed his right leg. He died nine months later at age 22.
Canadian Cancer Society statistics show 186,400 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in 2012 - about 500 each day - and 75,700 will die from it. In 2007, cancer surpassed cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of death in Canada.
Knowing that, Truro run organizer Sherri Mallov was happy with the turnout she saw Sunday as the route started from Victoria Park and made its way to Kiwanis Pond and back.
"We were pleased with it," she said.
Mallov said both the amount of participants and money raised were both down from 2011 figures, which saw about 100 runners take part and $6,000 raised. She wasn't concerned, however, citing a number of other running fundraisers taking place on the weekend.
"When I started this 10 years ago it was way down, so it's come up a lot," she said. "It's been steady for the past few years and we thought it would be down a bit with the other fundraisers going on. People just don't have the time to do everything."