Members of the COVCo team at their scientific retreat
To honour the 35th anniversary of the Marathon of Hope, many Terry Fox-funded research teams across Canada took up the challenge of fundraising for this year’s Terry Fox Run. Nearly 20 research teams took part and raised more than $70,000 for the Terry Fox Foundation. One team in particular set the bar high for future years – the oncolytic virus team led by Dr. John Bell in Ottawa raised over $35,000.
Earlier in 2015, Dr. Bell decided to hold his research group’s annual scientific retreat the day after the Terry Fox Run. This brought the Terry Fox Canadian Oncolytic Virus Consortium (COVCo) researchers together in Ottawa to participate in the run as one team.
Dr. Rebecca Auer, a Terry Fox New Investigator on Dr. Bell’s team, suggested that the team challenge themselves to raise $35,000 to honour the 35th anniversary of the Marathon of Hope. This was a lofty goal that Dr. Bell didn’t think they could reach. “Showing my usual great leadership skills, I told her that was a ridiculous goal that we would never achieve and tried to talk her down,” laughs Dr. Bell. “Rebecca told me that we could definitely do it if we tried and definitely couldn't do it if we didn't try!”
The group’s PIs and trainees took up the challenge at their research sites in Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Vancouver and Toronto. Chili lunches, bake sales, yard sales and game nights were held throughout the summer and the group raised $35,120 by run day, with more donations still to come in.
The team held their annual research retreat the day after the run. They reviewed their scientific progress over the last year, shared ideas and planned their strategy for the year ahead.
Dr. Auer said “it was truly a team effort from summer students to PIs and the retreat was amazing. As always, I left feeling more invigorated about my research program and the opportunities for collaboration.”