Rick Craig the man that gave the shirt off his back - part of his mission to make everyone on the planet know about Terry Fox.

The Terry Fox Run for Cancer Research, an annual event in Burlington since 1981, won’t take place this year – the social distancing rules determined by the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t permit large gatherings. And Terry Fox events are very large gatherings.

There is a collection of people who have done outstanding community service to grow the event to the point where they have raised $2.2 million.

They were not prepared to just let the event dribble away – it was going to take more than a pandemic to close them down.

The committee running the virtual event this year has taken a very creative approach to informing the community and telling parts of the unknown story.

Profiles of the people who got the event to where it is today appear on the Terry Fox Burlington Facebook page and are being republished by the Gazette with permission.


News 100 blueBy Burlington Terry Fox Run Committee

August 12th, 2020



Meet Rick Craig

Craig at the statue in the west

Rick on the right, Gerry on the left at the Terry Fox monument

For me, Rick Craig has always been the quiet, but thoughtful committee member who does our accounting. He would pass around financial statements at meetings and tell us how healthy our bank account was. Do we need to hold another fundraiser this year, or can we afford to wait another year? Rick had the answers. While he took on this role on the committee due to his background in the field, Terry Fox was more than just a number or a statistic to him.

Rick Craig was one of a few Burlington residents to see Terry run through Burlington on July 13, 1980.


Lakeshore Photo of Terry Fox running through Burlington on July 13, 1980.  Photo by Mark Mulholland

“Of course, I’d been following him all the way from Newfoundland, and so did my wife, and we heard he was coming through Burlington,” recalls Craig.

Rick made his way down to Lakeshore Road around 8:30 a.m., before work, with the hopes of catching a glimpse of this incredible young man he had been following in the news. His wife, Gerry, was on Plains Road, with the couple’s young daughter.

“I remember it was a bit of a foggy morning, and he hadn’t come along…at the time I thought he’d come along, so I was thinking I had to get to work, and ‘should I stay?’ And I said, ‘I’m going to stay,’ and all of a sudden there he was coming out of the fog.”

Joining the Committee

Rick Craig is a community-minded guy. He’s friendly and always willing to lend a hand. It’s with this spirit of generosity that he sought out new opportunities to get involved in Burlington events. Years ago, he and Gerry saw an article in the local newspaper asking for volunteers to join the Burlington organizing committee. The year Rick joined there was a small but motivated group. He had fun that first year and has been helping ever since.

When reflecting on why he’s stuck with it all these years, Rick said, “I do it for the cause, but I also do it for Terry.”

Rick with George

Rick Craig (on the right) with volunteer George Schroeder

The Organizers Workshop

Aside from the September run, the event that Rick looks forward to the most is the annual Terry Fox Organizers Workshop in Toronto. Here, representatives from run sites all across Ontario gather on a Saturday in May to watch presentations from other organizers, doctors, scientists, cancer survivors and other special guest speakers. There’s a barbecue lunch, raffle prizes (where Rick lucked out and won several the year I joined him), but at the end of the day you leave feeling humbled, hopeful and more determined than ever. You literally laugh and cry throughout the day. It’s pretty special.

“I’ve been to about eight of them,” said Craig, “and each time you leave inspired to get going.”

The Cuban Connection

Rick and Gerry Craig are avid travellers. At least they were, pre-COVID. During our chat, Rick shared a story about a trip they took to Cuba around 2010. Rick, like many long-time committee members, has a large collection of Terry Fox t-shirts. Wearing one of his many shirts, he went to a local market with Gerry and caught the attention of one merchant.

Shirt off his back

Rick Craig went back to his hotel and packed up his shirt to gift to her.

The woman at the stand said, “Terry Fox!” And Rick replied, “Oh you know [about] Terry Fox?” She said, “Yes, I run every year.”

He asked her if she had a shirt and she said no, so he went back to his hotel and packed up his shirt to give to her.

In exchange for his kindness, she gifted Rick and Gerry with some of her wooden carvings. They of course refused, but she insisted. The carvings are special mementos from that trip.

Rick took a photo with the merchant and her “new” shirt to remember this special moment. This story truly shows the global reach Terry Fox has these days. What started as a uniquely Canadian event in the 1980s is now happening all over the world.
Rick giving the shirt off his back to a vendor in Cuba.

Family Man

Though Rick has experienced many wonderful things during his years of involvement in the Burlington Terry Fox Run, one of his favourite memories was seeing his kids run by him on the course. Though he won’t be volunteering along the route this year, he still plans to participate in his own neighbourhood.

While he’s not a runner, he plans to ride his bike for the 2020 Terry Fox Run and collect donations just like he would any other year.

Thank you Rick (and Gerry) for your continued support and unwavering dedication to the cause!

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1 comment to Rick Craig the man that gave the shirt off his back – part of his mission to make everyone on the planet know about Terry Fox.

  • Cecilia Vespa

    Rick is a great guy and so enthusiastic about the run. Great to highlight such wonderful volunteers that give so much like Rick!