Terry Fox remains incredibly inspirational.
At 19 years of age, Fox, an athletic young man from Port Coquitlam, lost his right leg to cancer, but not his dreams of running.
Rather than be defeated by what must have seemed a supremely unfair twist of fate, Fox turned his misfortune into the will to fight. Just two years after losing his leg, he started training for what he dubbed his Marathon of Hope, a planned run across Canada to raise money for and awareness of cancer research.
It’s hard to believe today, but the Marathon of Hope started with little fanfare on April 12, 1980, when Fox dipped the artificial leg he would run on into the Atlantic Ocean in St. John’s.
Fox ran through five eastern provinces in a matter of months before hitting Ontario — and the headlines. By then, people had started to become aware of this incredibly brave young man’s dream. Children and adults alike following his trek as he strove to fight his disease not just for himself, but all of those who have come after him.
Today, there is likely not a person in Canada who has not seen footage of Fox’s run, his lopsided gait taking him steadily down lonely stretches of Canadian highway. It is iconic, a part of who we are as a country and a people. Fox was, after all, one of the best of us.
Fox’s cancer forced him to stop running in Thunder Bay in September 1980. On June 28, 1981, Fox died one month short of his 23rd birthday, but not before he saw his dream take off with the establishment of a fundraising run and a telethon that raised $10 million.
Though his legacy has become larger than life, Fox and his story remains at the heart of it all. We’d argue that’s why it remains so meaningful, to this day. It started with the dream and determination, and most importantly, the heart of one man.
This year’s Terry Fox Run will take place on Sunday, Sept. 15, in Riverside Park. Registration is at 9 a.m., with the run following at 10 a.m. All the information is online at terryfox.org.