Today marks the 30th anniversary of Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope which kicked off April 12, 1980 in Newfoundland.
His story has always struck a chord with me on a personal level because Terry grew up in Port Coquitlam, B.C. just a few minutes down the road from where I lived in Coquitlam. Much later, Terry became an inspiration to me again, as I fought my own battle with Cancer. I would often tell myself if Terry could run across the country with Cancer I could certainly do (fill in the blank)..
Our whole area watched the newscasts from that very first day when Terry dipped his right leg in the Atlantic Ocean in Newfoundland. I remember thinking how neat it was that he was going to transport two large bottles of ocean water back home with him, so that he could pour one of them into the Pacific Ocean when he reached the other side. Sadly, that day would never come.
Even in the face of everything, Terry had raised $1.7 Million dollars with his journey thus far; his efforts were the catalyst for a nationwide telethon in support of both he and the Canadian Cancer society which in just 5 hours raised 10 1/2 million dollars! Among those supporting were $1 Million each from the governments of BC and Ontario. BC's funds were to create a research institute to be founded in Terry's name, and Ontario's in the form of an endowment given to the Ontario Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation. Donations by the following April had topped $23 Million.
Terry was invested into the Order of Canada in September of 1980, and in doing so was the youngest person who'd ever been honoured. He was also named to the Order of the Dogwood, by the Lietenant Governor of BC, recognized as the highest award in the province. Terry was commissioned a permanent exhibit in the Canada Sports Hall of Fame. He also received the Lou Marsh Award for 1980 as the Nation's top athlete and was named Canada's 1980 Newsmaker of the Year.
The Ottawa Citizen described the national response to his marathon as "one of the most powerful outpourings of emotion and generousity in Canada's history."
I'd say he earned it! Never let it be said that one person cannot make a difference. All it takes is one little spark to create a fire!
If you feel so inclined, I would encourage you to seek out your local chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society, your local cancer agency, or your area Relay for Life efforts. If not for these great organizations, a great many of us would not be here today.
If you are already a supporter, THANK YOU <3