Heroes come in many different forms. Thirty-eight years ago, a teenager by the name of Terry Fox inspired an entire nation. He wanted nothing more than to help others.
In an effort to raise awareness for a disease that not only took his leg away but was surely going to take his life as well, Terry Fox decided to run. Everyday. From Newfoundland to British Columbia. He would never finish his journey, but became a true Canadian hero. After 143 days and 5,373 kilometres, just outside Thunder Bay, Terry announced he could no longer continue. Cancer had spread to his lungs and, a few months later, would eventually take his life.
“On Sept. 16, we are celebrating the 38th year that Terry’s message has been passed throughout communities around the world,” said Michael McDougal, Barrie Terry Fox Run committee chair. “He wanted to help others because he was able, on one leg.”
McDougal, himself, is a cancer survivor who is hoping the residents of communities across Canada participate in the Marathon of Hope and honour of the memory of Terry Fox.
“We want to help continue his Marathon of Hope, renamed the Terry Fox Run, to honour his unselfish and uncommon level of caring for complete strangers,” said McDougal.
The Marathon of Hope raised more than $23 million that year. For his sacrifice, Terry became a member of the Order of Canada and was given the Lou Marsh Award as Canada’s top athlete in 1980. Pope John Paul II recognized his efforts globally, sending his support and prayers to the young Canadian who was fighting for his life. But more importantly, Fox became a symbol of sacrifice and selflessness.
“We don’t get many examples of this level of commitment or selflessness in society today,” said McDougal. “Yes, they are out there, but few and far between. For one day a year, we should all, as Canadians, make Terry proud.”
Barrie Terry Fox Run – Centennial Park
What: Route options of five km and 10 km – bicycle, stroller and wheelchair accessible.
Where: Victoria Street and Lakeshore Drive
When: Sept. 16, registration begins at 8 a.m., open start 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.