Thank you Terry Fox

In my funk yesterday, I watched a few hours of TV. Flipping around, I settled on the History Channel – the biography of Terry Fox. Canadians will know the name, and many of the rest of you will too.

Terry Fox, born in Winnipeg in 1958 was a college athlete at Simon Frazer University in Vancouver when he lost his right leg to Cancer. A crushing blow for any 18 year old, but for one who loved all manner of sports, it was devastating.

With the help of an artificial leg, Terry Fox was walking again, three weeks after the amputation. Doctors were impressed with his positive outlook, and said that it contributed to his rapid recovery.  During sixteen months of chemotherapy at the British Columbia Cancer Control Agency, Terry watched fellow cancer patients suffer and die from the disease. He ended his treatment with a goal: he wanted to live his life as an example to others.

In 1980, this determination led him to embark on a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. He called the mammoth undertaking, “The Marathon of Hope,” and aimed to raise $24,000,000, one dollar for every Canadian.

Starting in St. John’s Newfoundland, Terry ran 5,373 kilometers (3,339 mi). As he headed west, the crowds grew and by the time he reached the province of Ontario, he had become a national celebrity. Terry Fox was the youngest person ever named a Companion of the Order of Canada. He also was awarded the Lou Marsh award for the nation’s top sportsman, and was named Canadian Newsmaker of the Year in 1980 and 1981. But the spread of his cancer forced him to end his run after 143 days and ultimately, he succumbed to the disease on June 28, 1981.

Nonetheless, his incredible effort left a worldwide legacy. The annual Terry Fox Run, first held in 1981, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world’s largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research; over 500 million has been raised in his name.

Yesterday, I relearned an old lesson: When melancholy hits, look around… you’ll soon find someone or something to make you feel better.

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2 Comments

Filed under Destinations

2 responses to “Thank you Terry Fox

  1. Valerie

    Yes thats true Joanne there are always people in a worse position. This week I just heard of my young friend has lost half her brain to a cancerous tumor. I read her facebook page from time to time and I am so impressed with her positve outlook.Its been difficult in more ways than one as she was self employed and its difficult to get insurance when you are selfemployed so she has relied on family and friends.Being an independent young woman this in itself is a hard task to deal with . But she is keeping strong and as I said positive about the whole issue.So cheer up my friend nothing is as it seems……….. its all an illusion
    love Valerie

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