Image Source: Flickr
April 12th, 2020 marked the 40th anniversary of Terry Fox embarking on the Marathon of Hope. If you went to a Canadian school in the past few decades you undoubtedly took part in the Terry Fox run (or walk) and sat through some version of an assembly in which you learned about his story. Forty years later, that story is just as powerful. What started as a way for him to repay a debt, as he saw it, has grown into an international movement.
It all started on the shores of St John’s, Newfoundland and for 143 days, Terry Fox ran close to a marathon a day. Able-bodied Olympians might tremble at that feat, yet the 22-year-old amputee who beat cancer showed nothing but conviction to get to the other side of the country. He set out with the goal to raise a million dollars to donate to the fight against cancer. But deeper still, he showed a country that a body does not determine an ability; cancer may have taken his leg, but it couldn’t take his spirit or determination.
Being a true Canadian, Fox battled ice storms and summer heat waves as he forged ahead one kilometer at a time. Before he could ever reach the finish line, he set for himself, he was being claimed a hero. Though he was never able to touch the other coast, his message ran laps around the world, and his hero status did nothing but rise.
Forty years on, Terry Fox’s message has made its way across oceans; there are runs hosted in Singapore and Abu Dhabi, Houston and Israel only to name a few. All of these serve to personify the world’s answer to Terry’s statement that the run had to keep going without him. What started as a Canadian kid wanting to make a difference has turned into a global tradition that amasses funds for research and raises awareness in growing numbers year after year.
It is hard to ignore the irony of the 40th anniversary of Fox’s courageous endeavour falling on a day in time in which walking or running are one of the few things we have left to do to keep up our spirits and hopes across the country. So maybe add a few steps onto that next walk, if not for you, do it for Terry.
Originally Published on www.bandersnatch.ca Vol.49 Issue 13 on April 15th, 2020