Terry Fox inspires Hof’s peak climb

Mary Hof combined her love of hiking and climbing with her desire to help fight cancer when she joined a group to climb Mount Terry Fox

Mary Hof combined her love of hiking and climbing with her desire to help fight cancer when she joined a group to climb Mount Terry Fox in Valemount, B.C., on Sept. 4.

Hof, a mother and grandmother from Cowichan Bay, climbed the nearly 9,000-foot peak near the border with Alberta with Terry’s brother, Fred Fox, and 29 others on the 35th anniversary of the peak being named ‘Terry Fox’.

She said she dedicated the climb to her brother-in-law, John Hof, who is battling cancer.

“Hiking up the mountain with Terry’s brother was incredible, and I had a really good feeling during the climb in which I raised $1,300 so far to help fight cancer,” said Hof, who is 59 years old.

“I’ve always gotten a real sense of peace in mountain climbing, especially when I’m doing it for such a great cause as this.”

Hof, a former nurse and a retired dairy farmer, is a member of a number of hiking clubs on the Island, has participated in numerous Terry Fox Runs over the years, and counts climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa 13 years ago as a major goal accomplished.

She said she was so struck by the conditions of the African villages she saw at the base of the mountain that she started a medical centre in a small community there that is still in operation today.

Hof said the final push to the peak on Mount Terry Fox was difficult and was completed in bad weather, but knowing what Terry did, and seeing her brother-in-law just a few days before, gave her the final push to the top.

“Terry would say ‘It’s not supposed to be easy’,” she said.

“I was delighted to climb Mt. Terry Fox peak and hope to do it again sometime, but hopefully in better weather. Hiking these peaks is for sure a challenge, but it brings an awareness of those around us that struggle every day.”