2002 Terry Fox Report / CUBA
The 2002 Terry Fox Run in Havana was a success in many ways. Donations, at US $19,161 or Cdn $30,380, were the highest ever and more than 30% more than 2001. Total participation also set a new record at 2,600 (vs. 1200 last year). This makes the Havana Run the largest in Latin America. In a surprise development, the Cuban Sports Federation announced that they would provide the logistical support to stage the Terry Fox Run simultaneously in over 150 municipalities of Cuba next year.
Among the challenges this year was creating a new Terry Fox organizing team, both within the Embassy and with our Cuban partners. The Embassy committed more resources than ever before with the Trade Section responsible for fundraising and the Political Section responsible for the Run itself. Two long-time Cuban partners, Carlos Gattorno from the Cuban Sports Institute/Ministry (INDER) and Dr. Rolando Camacho from the National Anti-Cancer Program brought a sense of continuity and enthusiasm. Camilo García from the Cuban Foreign Ministry rejoined the team after a two year stint in Ottawa. His experience and personal interest in the Run were immediately felt.
As in the last 4 editions, this year again the embassy organized fund raising activities in conjunction with the Terry Fox Race. One of the highlights was a benefit dinner, held at the Official Residence of the Canadian Ambassador. It attracted about 230 persons, who paid 15 dollars each. It was a BBQ type dinner and all the food, drinks, condiments, plates, door prizes, etc, were donated by sponsors. A group of Cuban musicians also agreed to come and play for free!
Overall, we managed to raise US $19,161 or Cdn $30,380.
The record level in participation was due to a number of factors. These included an intensive media outreach program with both the sports and more general media which included a kickoff press conference, radio interviews with three major radio stations, TV interviews on three programs of both general and sports interest, and a screening on national television of the Terry Fox Video "I Had A Dream" (with Spanish subtitles). Millions of listeners and viewers were informed about Terry Fox and the Run itself, as a result. For the first time, announcements of the Run were run regularly on television screens at international airports in Havana and Varadero. The Canada-Cuban organizing team met with Cuban youth organizations to urge their involvement. Unlike last year, the date did not conflict with a major Cuban celebration or rally.
Thanks to an excellent response from volunteers from both the INDER and the Embassy, the organization of the Run itself went very smoothly. For the first time this year, we added a short route, adjacent to the main one, for those who did not wish to run. This change was very well received. A special effort was made to highlight various Cuban groups and individuals that came from a distance to participate in the Run. Jose Alena, the Cuban "Terry Fox" who lost the same leg to cancer, received a special certificate and recognition for his participation in all of the last five Runs.
At the request of the Embassy, the Cuban Educational Film Institute (CINED) agreed to do an educational video of this year's run, interspliced with interviews with Ambassador Small, Dr. Camacho, Mr. Gattorno and various participants, as well as some footage of Terry Fox himself and other Terry Fox Runs in Latin America (subject to approval by the Terry Fox Foundation). This video will be an excellent educational tool for next year's edition of the Run in Cuba.
For the first time, post-Run coverage occurred in Canada and was quite extensive. A two minute report appeared on CTV national news broadcasts and print articles appeared in Toronto, Edmonton, Charlottetown, Halifax, Saint John, and St. John's, among others. The Run also received coverage in both of Cuba's major national newspapers.
Registrations, at 893, represented only a portion of those who participated. Based on a close count (and control) of certificates of participation handed out at the finish plus other INDER volunteer-participants, we are confident that the total reached 2,600. An analysis of those who registered reveals that at least 31 countries were represented. Canadians accounted for the largest number of foreigners. About 85% of Cuban participants came from the City of Havana but there was significant representation from the provinces of Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Guantanamo and Santiago. Among Cubans, about 70% of participants were men. Individuals between 30-39 years of age (more aware of aging and the possibilities of cancer?) represented the largest group of participants.