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Barrie, Ont. family continues late Will Dwyer’s goal of raising $2M for Terry Fox Foundation

Second World War veteran Will Dwyer has raised over $1 million for the Terry Fox Foundation. He said he's now hoping to reach $2 million. Global News/Daina Goldfinger

The family of the late Will Dwyers is working to raise $2 million for the Terry Fox Foundation to honour his years of dedication to supporting cancer research.

After reaching his goal to raise $1 million for the Terry Fox Foundation in 2019, at the age of 94, Will Dwyer decided to double his goal to $2 million.

The Second World War veteran started collecting funds 42 years ago after watching Terry Fox’s cross-country run that raised money to support cancer research.

When he passed away earlier this year on May 8, 2022, at the age of 96, Will Dwyer had raised was over $1.2 million towards that goal, and his family is hoping to help him finish it.

Will Dwyer, Second World War veteran started collecting funds 42 years ago after watching Terry Fox’s cross-country run that raised money to support cancer research. Supplied by Robert Dwyer

Robert Dwyer, Will Dwyers son, said he was thankful to be able to help his father with his fundraising goal by driving him around the last three years.

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“So I took him around a couple of days a week, starting in May and finishing in September. So I got to know all of his routes over three years, and I just saw so many people that he touched the hearts of his supporters, and it grew on me, and I realized the passion for it was going in me as well,” Robert said.

Read more: 94-year-old Barrie man surpasses $1M fundraising goal for Terry Fox Foundation

Robert said after retiring from the military, his father would raise money for the Terry Fox Foundation every May to September by going door to door and setting up a table at the Barrie Farmers Market to collect funds.

“Back when he started, when Terry finished, he said that if Terry can do what he’s doing on one leg, he should be able to go out and try to make $1,000,000 on two legs,” Robert said.

“He just had a passion. That was the only thing he did. That was the one that seemed to get a hold of him.”

In the years before he passed, Robert said his father had fought and won his battle with prostate cancer but had also lost his mother and two sons to the disease.

Click to play video: '94-year-old Barrie man surpasses goal to raise $1M for cancer research'
94-year-old Barrie man surpasses goal to raise $1M for cancer research

Read more: 94-year-old Second World War veteran trying to raise $1M for cancer research

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Since May, the family has already raised $50,000 this year but is hoping to raise more.

As his father did in years past, Robert said they will have a table to set up at the Barrie Farmers Market this Saturday for people who want to support their goal.

“I’ve tried to get everybody, all of Dad’s supporters, over the year, but sometimes it’s impossible. I’m just hoping they’ll continue, and this will continue,” Robert said.

“I know I’m going to do it every year — I just hope it doesn’t take me 39 years like it took Dad because I will be 101,” Robert joked.

Anyone wanting to donate can do so online through the Will Dwyer memorial page on the Terry Fox Foundation website.

With files from Global News’ Daina Goldfinger

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