Today marks the thirty-seventh anniversary of a bold young 21-year-old Canadian named Terry Fox, began his Marathon of Hope when he dipped his prosthetic leg into the Atlantic Ocean neat St. Johns Newfoundland. His dream was to find a cure for cancer by raising $1 from each Canadian.
Terry was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and at the age of 19, while living in Port Quitlam, he lost his right leg to osteosarcoma (cancer of the bone. Terry was very athletic and was inspired by Dick Traum, the first person to complete the New York Marathon with a prosthetic leg. From that inspiration, the brave and ambitious warrior began training for an event that would change the world. He trained for 15 months, running 3159 miles until his stump was raw and bleeding as he worked his way up to 23 miles per day. He took only one day off, Christmas, because his mother asked him too.
Ok course she thought he was crazy when Terry explained to her that he planned to run a marathon a day until he crossed Canada. Undeterred by her scepticism, he embarked on his bold quest starting before dawn each day where he would run in shorts and a T-shirt with a printed map of Canada. He called it the Marathon of Hope. He went through hell, but claimed, “I got satisfaction out of doing things that were difficult. It was an incredible feeling. The pain was there, but the pain didn’t matter. But that’s all the people could see; they couldn’t see the good that I was getting out of it myself.”
Canadians soon adopted his dream, tear-filled faces cheered him on as he hobbled past with fists clenched and face grimacing. True grit. By the time he reached Ontario, he was drawing crowds of over 10,000 strong. Canadians began to believe in humans again.
At 22 years of age, on June 19, 1981 Terry Fox died just as he reached his goal of raising $1 per every Canadian ($24.1 million). Prior to his death, Terry Fox was awarded the Order of Canada and the Order of Dogwood, the province of British Colombia’s highest award. He has been voted as Canada’s greatest hero to have ever lived.
On Sep 19th of each year, Canadians take on the Marathon of Hope challenge and run in his honour. The annual Terry Fox Run started in 1981 and has spread to 60 countries worldwide and is the world’s largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research. Cancer survival rates for osteosarcoma have risen to over 80% thanks to Terry’s efforts. I am heart-warmed to think of the number of young children who are alive today thanks to Terry’s dream.
At age 25, I too contracted a deadly form of cancer and was fortunate to have survived, but it allowed me to understand the motivation behind the brave young Terry Fox. Every penny I receive through the sales of my book, Finding Forrest Fenn, goes directly towards cancer research. I ask that you too join the fight along with me and donate directly to The Terry Fox Foundation or through my Canadian Cancer Society research fund (April is Cancer month in Canada). Your donations do make a difference.
Come along side me and join the fight with Terry and honour his courage and determination.
"I'm going to do my very best. I'll fight. I promise I won't give up."~ Terry Fox
For more information: www.terryfox.org or click on "Donate to Terry Fox" button at the top of my website.