Today is the 34th Terry Fox run – and the 34th time that I will run in this family event.
Have you heard of Terry Fox? He is a Canadian hero but people in other countries aren’t often aware of him. You can read a timeline of facts and much more at terryfox.org. Terry was 18 when he lost his leg to osteosarcoma and he decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He’d run from St. John’s to Thunder Bay when he had to stop because his cancer returned.
I was 10 when Terry Fox started his Marathon of Hope. I had been in hospital a lot and thought it was pretty cool that a sick guy from around Vancouver was out there doing stuff (yeah, that’s the kid lens). As I got older, I got a better appreciation for the determination, courage and idealism that he possessed.
In 2010, I wanted to ‘finish’ Terry’s run but got ill myself. Now I’m trying again.
“I’m not a dreamer, and I’m not saying this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer, but I believe in miracles. I have to.” Terry Fox
Terry Fox lost his leg due to osteosarcoma in 1977. Three years later, at the age of 21, he started a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. He ran a marathon every day! He rested (didn’t run) on only 4 of 143 days.
Let’s think about this – a marathon every day? If I count up my running mileage, I run a marathon every 2 weeks. To get myself moving, I am going to do some form of cardio every day until I run 3156 km (1961 miles). I’m hoping to get to the point where I run 5 days a week and cycle 2. I’ve started a spreadsheet of my progress so you can follow if you want. You’ll note that I started on Sept. 1, the day that Terry had to stop.
Why 3156 km (1961 miles)? Terry Fox had run 3339 miles with an estimated 1961 miles left to reach the Pacific Ocean. I was 11 and promised to one day complete the run. As I grew up, I wanted to do something like him but I’m not naturally athletic and there never seemed to be enough time. Now with internet technology, a virtual completion is achievable. I do not want to take any of the credit from Terry Fox or the foundation but I want to satisfy that idealistic wish from my childhood.
Terry Fox was forced to quit when the cancer metastasized to his lungs. He had one tumour that was the size of a golf ball and the tumour in the other lung was the size of a lemon. Again – think about this I complain when I have a cold but he had large tumours and was running 26 miles a day! Surely, we can all get out there and do something positive whether it is helping our personal health or our community.
Terry Fox died on June 28, 1981 after raising 23 million dollars for cancer research and realizing his dream of $1 donated for every Canadian.
The first annual Terry Fox Run occurred on Sept. 13, 1981 and the annual Terry Fox Run now has millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world’s largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research; over 500 million dollars has been raised in his name. I have never missed a run – even when sick or overseas, I have managed to finish.
A Canadian tribute to Terry Fox. The audio is pure Canadiana – quality and soundtrack.
A more polished version by the American ESPN.
There has been a lot of tributes to Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope. The only thing that I can add is that he is my hero and I hope that I share some of his optimism and perseverance.
NOTE: much of this information is repeated from my 2010 post. But I plan to finish this time so won’t have to recycle again.