Yesterday was Sunday. I woke up earlier than normal, like so many people and kids across Canada to do The Terry Fox Run. I went with my Dad to do a 2k run in my community. There were about 200 people there. It was good to see so many people come to do this together to remember Terry Fox and continue his dream.
Terry Fox was 18 years old and he lived in Vancouver when he got bone cancer in his right knee. He had chemo and he had to amputate his right leg. Before he got sick he was a distance runner and basketball player. He wasn’t going to let having cancer stop him from running. Terry trained for 14 months for what he called The Marathon Of Hope. He set out to run across Canada to raise money and awareness for Cancer Research. His mom asked him, “why can’t you run across British Columbia?” He said, “because not only people in B.C get Cancer.” She couldn’t argue with that. There was a van following Terry with his brother and best friend to make sure that he was safe and healthy and also to support and encourage him.
On April 12th, 1980 he started The Marathon Of Hope. Terry would run a marathon a day-26 miles. He would go through snow, rain, heat – no matter what he did it everyday. Everyday he woke up at 4am to run 12 miles then he rested and then ran another 14 miles in the afternoon. At first his goal was to raise 1 million dollars and after two months he changed his goal to $1 for every canadian which was 24 million. Terry Fox had honesty, innocence and determination, that’s why his friends said that people loved Terry Fox. My dad is training to run The New York City Marathon right now, so I know how hard they have to train, the pain and how determined you need to be to run a marathon. Terry Fox ran a marathon every day.
What inspired Terry was the children he met – especially the children who had cancer – just like him. Terry said “I had the most inspirational day of my life today” when he met a young boy named Greg he had the same Cancer as Terry. He took his 4th day off in 137 days of running to spend the day swimming in the lake with Greg. Greg gave a boost to Terry because at the time Terry wasn’t feeling very good.
In Thunder Bay, Ontario on Sept 1at 3339 miles Terry asked to be taken to the hospital. When he got to the hospital the doctors told him his cancer had spread and was in his lungs. He had to stop and go to his home Vancouver for treatment. There was a telethon organized that raised more than 10 million dollars, that was added to the 2 million Terry raised on his own. On June 28th, 1981 Terry Fox died- he was 22 years old. The nurse who made the announcement on television said that he was “surrounded by his family and the love and prayers of the entire nation.”
On the night before he started The Marathon of Hope, Terry told his brother “I want to try the impossible to show that it can be done.” More than $600 million has been raised by Terry and The Terry Fox Foundation that was created after he died.
September 27th is the Terry Fox National School Run Day. I’ll be running with my friends and teachers at school. Will you?
Terry Fox ran across Canada with one leg! Terry didn’t give up, he believed that what some people might think is impossible is actually possible. He tried so hard to help people with cancer – especially children. He was kind, generous, strong and determined. Terry Fox was and still is a great Canadian hero who inspires so many to live well and try hard.
Two other great Canadian heroes who also talk about what is possible are men I also admire – Rick Hansen and Spencer West. Rick Hansen was inspired by Terry Fox and did his own Marathon of Hope called The Man in Motion Tour in 1985. Rick was in a pick up truck accident when he was 15 and had spinal cord injury that paralyzed him from the waist down. For 26 months, he and his team wheeled over 40,000 km through 34 countries raising awareness about the potential of people with disabilities, creating accessible and inclusive communities, and finding a cure. The other hero I want to tell you about is Spencer West. When he was 5 years old he had to have both of his legs amputated because of a genetic disorder that he had when he was born. Spencer is awesome. In June 2012 he climbed Mount Kiliminjaro – with his hands. These three men – Terry Fox, Rick Hansen and Spencer West – have all shown to me and to everyone – that there is nothing that is impossible if you are determined and passionate and have support and love around you.