Terry Fox is one of the most inspiring Canadian Heroes I know. His passion, dream, determination, will and endurance are beyond admirable.
Everyday he ran a marathon. Every day. He ran on lonely highways through the worst of weather, enduring pain, discouragement and eventually the spread of cancer which took his life in 1981.
When I was a student teacher, my sponsor teacher took out a gigantic folder of photos and newspaper clippings from the time that Terry Fox did his Marathon of Hope across Canada in 1980. She was making a display for the school. As she put in the staples, she told me she had attended Terry Fox Secondary High School and that every year, her family attended the Terry Fox Hometown Run.
Her enthusiasm about Terry Fox got me really interested in who he was, his dream of a cure for cancer, and the run.
Now every year, rain or shine, I attend the Hometown run myself. Even the year that we taught in Kuwait, Mark and I ran the Terry Fox Run put on by the Canadian Embassy. Apparently Kuwait’s run raises one of the highest amounts of money in the world.
As we approach the run, the crowds are already gathering. This is the largest turn-out they’ve had for a couple of years. The weather is fantastic. There are bands playing, and people registering, buying t-shirts and finding a place in the starting line.
The run starts with O Canada, then speeches by local people who new Terry, such as his gym teacher, and often Betty Fox, Terry’s mother, is there to give her heart-warming words. One year we got to talk to her after the run. (I am proud to say that I was the first female to finish that year in Pt. Moody!) Betty Fox was so fascinated with Miranda, who was only five months old then. Rick Hanson, another Canadian hero, usually speaks at the Hometown run and we saw him come across the finish line today!
Just before the race starts, Never Give Up on a Dream is sung, which brings tears to many eyes.
Then off we all go… Some running for fun,
some running for family and friends with cancer, and some in victory of cancer that’s been overcome.
The run is 2.5K, 6K or 10K. There are runners, walkers, bikers, roller bladers, and in our case, a runner, a walker, a stroller and two on scooters.
I think what I take from this experience most is not so much about cancer, itself, but about Terry’s character. About his dream and how he followed after that dream with such perseverance.
And now, years later, his vision continues as people all over the world run for Terry’s cause, and the money and research has helped people to survive.
Now that’s the kind of legacy that I hope to pass on to my children.
And them to theirs.