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Mount Allison Students Plan Marathon Hike to Support Terry Fox Foundation

Mount Allison Students Plan Marathon Hike to Support Terry Fox Foundation

Courtesy of Mount Allison University

SACKVILLE, NB -- A dozen Mount Allison University students plus the University's vice-president, international and student affairs, are about to take on a challenging trek through Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland with the aim of raising money to support the Terry Fox Foundation.

Alex Whynot, a third-year biochemistry student from Pleasantville, NS, is organizing the event.

"Last year there was a 75-kilometre challenge to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park," he says. "I thought I would see if my family wanted to do that and I thought we could do it for a good cause."

Whynot, who has always admired Terry Fox, convinced his family to complete the hike and use it to raise money for the Terry Fox Foundation. It went so well that this year Whynot, who is president of the campus group Health Care Outreach, proposed the group organize a similar challenge in another national park with students from Mount Allison.

As a team, the students hope to raise $15,000 for the Foundation. Whynot says they will be hiking a total of about 85 kilometers over four days, from Aug. 23 to 26. On the second day, in honour of Terry Fox, they will walk a marathon -- 43 kilometers -- the distance Terry ran on each of the 143 days of his Marathon of Hope.

"If everything goes as expected, that is 13 to 16 hours of hiking, so we are tight on time," he says. "We're getting up at 4:30 a.m. and starting an hour before sunrise."

Ron Byrne, Mount Allison's vice-president, international and student affairs, is also taking part in the trek. An avid hiker, he says he is looking forward to testing his limits alongside the rest of the team.

"I welcome the opportunity to join a group of our amazing students on this exciting challenge," he says. "It is not only a chance to support the commendable work done by the Terry Fox Foundation, but to actively participate in a project that is building leadership and citizenship skills in our students."

Whynot says he chose to support the Terry Fox Foundation for several reasons.

"Their percent per dollar that goes to research (84 cents out of every dollar raised) is really high in comparison to many of the other charities and there is the youthfulness of it as well," he says. "Terry Fox was 22 when he passed away. He did everything he did before the age of 22. It is impressive that someone so young could make such a difference and I think students can relate to that."

Whynot is hoping to share the idea with other universities across the country. He says the challenge is a way to showcase Canada's national parks, while raising money for a good cause. He says they have received great support not only from Parks Canada, but from the Terry Fox Foundation, Mount Allison, and Mountain Equipment Co-op and the Sackville Co-op, who donated equipment and supplies to the team.

Anyone wishing to support the team with a donation to the Terry Fox Foundation can do so online at http://my.e2rm.com/TeamPage.aspx?teamID=283645langPref=en-CAReferrer=direct%2fnone

MEDIA CONTACTS: Aloma Jardine, Mount Allison University, 506-364-2600 (ajardine@mta.ca)