Terry Fox and the T-shirt team. Cindy May has run the merchandise tent for a decade

News 100 blueT shirt line pic on oneBy Burlington Terry Fox Run Committee

August 29th, 2020


One thing that’s been a staple of the Terry Fox Run through the years is the commemorative t-shirt. For some, it’s a collector’s item, for others it’s a donation to the cause. Regardless, there’s always plenty of talk when the new t-shirt design is released by the Foundation.

I was fortunate to have “tuned in” to the Foundation’s monthly Zoom meeting when Fred Fox, Terry Fox’s brother, unveiled this year’s shirt design. For the 40th Anniversary, the Terry Fox Foundation held a design contest and this year’s shirt was created by Nick Jones of Saskatchewan. Congratulations, Nick!

Cindy May

Cindy May in her red T-shirt. Running the mechanize tent has a very special meaning for her.

Cindy May
To talk about the significance of the Terry shirts, merchandise and Terry’s Team, I talked to the Burlington Terry Fox Committee’s merch expert, Cindy May. While she’s stepping back for 2020 due to the fact that there will be no event to sell shirts at, she did reflect back on her role in selling the shirts over the years.

Before we get into that, Cindy’s story is an important one.

“I first joined [the committee] when I moved to Burlington 10 years ago” said May.

She was looking for a way to get involved in her new community and had personal reasons for choosing Terry Fox.

“I actually had the same cancer as Terry Fox, osteogenic sarcoma,” said May, “I had it in my right arm. I had that when I was 17.”

She credits Terry Fox and the Foundation for all the advances that have been made since Terry’s diagnosis in 1977.

Thirty-two years ago, Cindy had a life-saving surgery that allowed her to keep her arm, something that was less possible when Terry was diagnosed a decade prior. She received several follow-up treatments after her procedure to prevent the cancer from spreading to her lungs.

Mai in the merch tent

Cindy May, centre, in one of the merchandise tents with a couple of her volunteers.

As a cancer survivor, Cindy gets to wear probably the most significant type of Terry Fox shirt one can get and that’s the red shirt for Terry’s Team.

Terry’s Team
Over the years that Cindy has been selling the shirts on run day, people have commented on her red shirt asking if they can buy one. And while the red shirts are attractive, it’s not a shirt anyone should wish to wear.

The red shirts are not for sale, but rather are given to cancer survivors and fighters upon registration. When you register you are asked if you are a member of Terry’s Team (aka you have or have had cancer). The red shirts are a quiet reminder of how much cancer has touched our lives – a nod to survivors acknowledging the prevalence of this disease in our communities.

While survivors like Cindy are proud to be part of Terry’s Team, our ultimate goal is to reduce the number of red shirts we see.

Our hope is that the more money we raise, the fewer red shirts we will see in the future.

Tales from the Merch Tent
Cindy didn’t start in the merch tent during her first year on the committee. Prior to running the t-shirt tent on run day, Cindy and her graphic designer husband Agostino, worked on the “Dedication” and “Thank You” boards.

After three years of working on the dedications boards, she took over shirt sales on run day. One year, the tent was decorated with all the shirts from past runs – showing how the designs had changed over the years.

When I asked for her thoughts and memories of run day she said, “it’s a great day. It’s always a great day. We raise a lot of money. I enjoy doing it. It’s my small part.”

Roles big or small, the Burlington Terry Fox Committee is full of incredible, selfless people, like Cindy May, who do their part to continue this proud Canadian tradition.

Shirts for Cancer Research
T shirt line pic on one

40th T shirt

The 40th anniversary T shirt – available now.

By purchasing the new Terry Fox t-shirt or other merchandise each year you are supporting cancer research. Because Cindy won’t be able to set up shop on September 20th to sell shirts this year, we encourage participants to purchase shirts when registering for this year’s run. You can also reach out to the Burlington committee to see what we have available.

If you are a member of Terry’s Team, be sure to indicate that when you register to get your red shirt.

Hopefully we will all see Cindy’s smiling face at the Merch Tent in 2021!

Craig Gardner is co-ordinating shirt sales from his home. People are either picking them up or he delivers locally. We accept cash/cheque or e-transfer.

We started with about 120 shirts in various sizes (Unisex 6X and YM(size 10) for kids at $15 each and s/m/l/xld xxl for adults at $20 each) and have sold almost half in the past 3 days.

Gardner is going to try to order more; he isn’t sure if he will be successful as the foundation ordered fewer in general as they thought it would be a slower year. Not in Burlington.  You can reach Craig at: scraiggardner@sympatico.ca

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