1. a person who is admired for their selfless, courageous actions and/or noted for their nobility of character;
2. a person who has, in the opinion of others, achieved extraordinary accomplishments, often for the good of others and at great risk to themselves.
In the infancy of his adulthood, at the tender age of 18, Terry Fox was diagnosed with a malignant tumour in his right leg. After a lengthy battle, cancer would take his life, one month shy of his 23rd birthday. His dream, to see a world free of cancer and its devastation, along with his legacy would endure.
Terry’s goal to run across Canada from the Atlantic in the East to the Pacific in the West began the night prior to having his leg removed. Reading about an amputated marathon runner, Terry’s appetite for achieving anything you set your mind to was set in motion.
After being declared cancer-free on April 12, 1980, Terry dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean at St. John’s, Newfoundland, symbolizing his journey had begun.
He ran for 143 days, covering 5,373 kilometres (almost a marathon a day) during what he termed was his “Marathon of Hope”. His goal was to raise a million dollars in an effort to fund cancer research. Terry felt it was his duty as a survivor, to serve as an ambassador for cancer research and champion the cause for all those ravaged by this disease. He sought neither fame nor decoration, his intent was only to attract attention and funding in the hopes the suffering he had witnessed would end. He simply wanted to fulfil a debt he owed and give back to an institution he felt had saved his life.
“I could not leave knowing these faces and feelings would still exist even though I would be set free from mine.”
“Somewhere, the hurting must stop… and I was determined to take myself to the limit for those causes.”
Although his quest was relatively unknown at the beginning, it took no time for momentum to build. Within a short amount of time, he had brought a nation to their feet, uniting them from coast to coast to coast, in his resolve. To the public, he represented everything that is good in this world, and people flocked to cheer him on, run beside him or just catch a glimpse of their hero in the making.
On September 1, 1980, Terry was forced to stop running two-thirds into his campaign in northern Ontario, after cancer had returned to his lungs. And although his journey may have ended prematurely, he could not have known how far-reaching of an impact his actions would have. As of 2016, the Terry Fox Foundation had raised more than $715 million for cancer research. The annual Terry Fox Run is a September staple across Canada and now worldwide.
Erected on June 26, 1982, The Terry Fox Monument outside Thunder Bay, Ontario, where his last mile was run, stands to commemorate a man who has become the measurement of Canadian courage and heroism. To read about or visit the memorial, click here. To make a donation or for more information regarding Terry Fox or the Terry Fox Foundation, click here.
~True North Nomad
TNN ran along-side Terry Fox when he reached Barrie, Ontario. Have you met a hero? Tell us in the comments below.
“Terry is like a meteor passing in the sky, one whose light travels beyond our view, yet still shines in the darkest night.” ~ Isadore Sharp – enter your email address and click “follow” bottom right and never miss an impassioned tale again!