Terry Fox--A Marathon of Hope
The Story of a Hero
July 28, 1958 – June 28, 1981
Terry Fox was just a boy who showed the world what it takes to be a man.
When I was a teenager, I had a crush on a young man—no worries, my husband knows all about him. He's a Canadian legend, and his name is Terry Fox. He not only ran across the long roads of our country but also nightly on our television screens, in a hop-skip motion that became his signature, as we watched for an update on his progress.
Terry Fox got a rotten deal in life. He was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (an aggressive malignant form of bone cancer) in his right knee in 1977 and had to have his leg amputated. For months after, he trained to run in the Marathon of Hope across Canada. He was always a dedicated athlete, but running across Canada takes more than the fuel of dreams.
For 143 days, Terry ran 26 miles a day to reach his goal: the west coast. Only to be demobilized as cancer invaded his lungs when he was nearing Thunder Bay, Ontario. Nine months later, I remember the momentous day when the sad news reached us, that Terry had succumbed to the battle. It was June 28, 1981. Terry was only 23 years old. Not only had he so much to live for, but our lives would also have been better had they found a cure in time to save him. At the start of his quest, his dream was to raise one dollar from each Canadian. (24 million at the time). A humble goal.
This year Canadians are voting too. Not for a new political figurehead, but for a cultural icon. Voting portals are open at the Bank of Canada to put our voice behind the figure who represents our Canadian values. The playing field is vast, and while I admit there many who deserve the honor, but in my mind, only one name and image are befitting. Terrence Stanley Fox. He deserves to be the image on the next minted five-dollar banknote.
All potential candidates must meet the criteria set out by a body of advisors to The Bank of Canada. Nominees must: born or naturalized citizens, been dead for 25 years, not be fictional, and have been an outstanding leader in their achievement and have benefited Canada. Those challenging qualifications alone make Terry Fox the only contender. (As far as I'm concerned.)
To be nominated is already an honor. When I tallied the list on the Bank of Canada survey site, there were 302 notable contenders. And I admit, there were many names I didn't recognize. However, I am sure they made positive contributions to the quality of our lives, whether through politics, the arts, medicine, or cultural influences. But again, Terry Fox transcended all the lines written in sand.
For the purposes of a fair race, I include a sample list of names here to gage Terry's stiff competition. Each nominee deserves the recognition. But I don't find anyone on the list who unified Canadians as much as Terry Fox. He's the true humanitarian of the century.
Emily Carr influential artist and writer
Laura Secord 1812 War heroin
Glenn Gould concert pianist
Nellie Mcclung suffragette and activist
Louis Riel politician and leader of the Métis
Tommy Douglas father of universal healthcare, (relative to Donald and Kiefer Sutherland)
John Candy comedian/actor (Uncle Buck)
Raymond Burr actor (Perry Mason)
Victor Davis Olympic swimmer
Lorne Greene actor, (Ben Cartwright, Bonanza)
Tim Horton, hockey hero, co-founder of Tim Horton's chain
Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of beloved Green Gables
Mary Pickford actress/producer
Gilles Villeneuve race car driver
Timothy Eaton important businessman
Reading through the list of 300 plus nominees, I recognized many names associated with street names, historic buildings, airports, and galleries. But while many of those individuals left an impression, they don't come close to touching us in the same way Terry Fox did and still does.
Terry leaves us with the legacy of the Marathon of Hope. While I'm not the sort of person who hops on the bandwagon, I'll gladly volunteer to drive this vehicle to promote Terry as the singular choice to represent the core values of what we all aspire to and to immortalize him on the five-dollar bill.
Terry was a gift, not only to his family but to all of us. He's a once in a lifetime champion of the economy of our hearts, values, and morals. He fought an adversary more vicious than even the biblical Goliath. (Don't yell at me for the comparison.) Terry didn't have a slingshot weapon, but Terry had many attributes that made him a determined fighter to battle cancer. Sofar to date, Terry and his campaign to defeat this monster have raised 750 million dollars. He delivered hope to people where none existed. The world over, 60 countries have hosted a Terry Fox Run to raise funds and awareness in the fight against this global monster called cancer.
And while we argue over complex issues in this (and every) country, Terry Fox never held us hostage with his idealistic views and beliefs and never compromised on what he set out to achieve. Instead, Terry ran across the country, hop-skip, hop-skip, to take a stand and raise awareness, and he left his footprints on our hearts forever. Now that is a hero.
To my fellow Canadians, please take a moment and vote for Terry Fox before the deadline on March 11, 2020, at
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