September 16, 2005
Marathon of Hope
When Terry Fox ran his Marathon of Hope across Canada, I was 10. I remember being fascinated with his trek and would return every pop bottle I could find to donate to the cancer fund.

Even at that young age, I knew what cancer was. My brother's best friend had died the year before at 18 years old of leukemia. Our neighbour - a wonderful old lady who would take me on a bus to the mall, a very precious treat in itself had been taken by lung cancer around the same time.

To think, 25 years after Terry Fox's dream, not only has cancer become beatable in many cases but he would have survived as well. The type of bone cancer he had is now considered one of the more treatable forms.

Of course, the Big C is still a big deal. But if we think how far we've gone in the last 25 years, I hope in the next 25 years, the babies being born today won't even know what it's like to lose their loved ones this way.

This weekend is the Terry Fox run. The following was part of an email I received today that I thought was a very worthwhile read.

While in hospital, Terry was so overcome by the suffering of other cancer patients, many of them young children, that he decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research.
Terry Fox's Letter Requesting Support For His Run
The night before my amputation, my former basketball coach brought me a magazine with an article on an amputee who ran in the New York Marathon. It was then I decided to meet this new challenge head on and not only overcome my disability, but conquer it in such a way that I could never look back and say it disabled me.

But I soon realized that that would only be half my quest, for as I went through the 16 months of the physically and emotionally draining ordeal of chemotherapy, I was rudely awakened by the feelings that surrounded and coursed through the cancer clinic. There were faces with the 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.

From the beginning the going was extremely difficult, and I was facing chronic ailments foreign to runners with two legs in addition to the common physical strains felt by all dedicated athletes.

But these problems are now behind me, as I have either out-persisted or learned to deal with them. I feel strong not only physically, but more important, emotionally. Soon I will be adding one full mile a week, and coupled with weight training I have been doing, by next April I will be ready to achieve something that for me was once only a distant dream reserved for the world of miracles – to run across Canada to raise money for the fight against cancer.

The running I can do, even if I have to crawl every last mile.

We need your help. The people in cancer clinics all over the world need people who believe in miracles.

I am not a dreamer, and I am not saying that this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer. But I believe in miracles. I have to.

Terry Fox, October 1979

Favourite Terry Fox Quote:
“I don’t feel that this is unfair. That’s the thing about cancer. I’m not the only one, it happens all the time to people. I’m not special. This just intensifies what I did. It gives it more meaning. It’ll inspire more people. I just wish people would realize that anything’s possible if you try; dreams are made possible if you try.

When Terry Fox lost his battle, I remember feeling like I had lost someone I knew. I cut out every newspaper clipping and article I could find, and grieved as a young child will do. To know though, 2 generations later, that his name lives on and his dream is now bigger than he probably ever could have envisioned is an amazing testament to just how one person can make a difference.

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer, who looks forward to a better Canada. I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.
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