It hadn’t been our intention to post on our blog this afternoon. But a little earlier today, whilst browsing on the internet, we stumbled upon something so touching, so amazing and so inspirational, we had no choice . . .
It’s a tale that has been told before, countless times over the last 33 years, but it’s one that deserves to be recounted more often and one that demands a more regular retelling. It’s about courage and kindness, compassion and connection. It’s about drive and determination. It’s about putting up a fight and inspiring others and showing that nothing is impossible. It’s about a brave young man called Terry Fox.
Terry was 18 years old when, in March 1977, he was diagnosed with bone cancer in his right knee. Terry’s leg was amputated and the teenager endured months of chemotherapy, a process that took its toll in terms both psychological and physical. One day, the treatment an apparent success, the time came for Terry to leave the hospital. Before he did so, he took a good look around at those he’d be leaving behind.
‘I soon realized that that would be only half my quest,’ he explained later. ‘For as I went through the 16 months of the physically and emotionally draining ordeal of chemotherapy, I was rudely awakened by feelings that surrounded and coursed through the cancer clinic. There were faces with brave smiles and the ones who had given up smiling. There were feelings of hopeful denial and the feelings of despair. My quest would not be a selfish one. 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 this cause’.
Terry decided to dedicate himself to raising funds for cancer research. He set his sights high. His first target was $1m, a figure he soon revised to $10m. Not long after, he decided he needed to raise one dollar for every person in Canada. His ultimate target was $24m.
To raise this extraordinary sum, Terry planned to run from coast to coast across Canada, clocking up 26 miles EVERY day. This despite, remember, having had his right leg amputated. On April 12, 1980, he set off from Canada’s Eastern-most point in Newfoundland, heading for home in British Columbia. He called it the Marathon of Hope. This is what happened on the journey . . .
There’s not much more for us to add, although we hope you might understand why we felt we had to share this. Our inspiration comes from innumerable sources, but we haven’t seen a lot in recent times that has stirred us quite as much as Terry’s tale. He connected with those kids in the cancer clinic and he showed that there was nothing he wouldn’t do to attempt to make their lives a little bit better. He paid a high price, but he died a hero.
That description – ‘Honesty, innocence, determination’ – is quite an epitaph, but it’s nothing compared to Terry’s legacy. You see, to date, more than $500m has been raised in his name and, thanks to the great work done by the team at the Terry Fox Foundation, countless lives continue to be touched as a result of one man, his single-mindedness and his mission.
We just wanted to tell this story in the hope that it might inspire you to embark on your own Marathon of Hope. Here’s to Terry, here’s to honesty, here’s to innocence and determination.