Ordinary Hero: Terry Fox

September 12, 2010 at 5:18 pm (Life, Memoir) (, , , , )

Excuse the yawn…

I am exhausted. I was at work yesterday from 9am to 2am with only a two hour break in-between and most of the day was spent standing on my feet or running around. I work for a small museum and we put on a big, fun event last night. It was fun but so much work and I came home exhausted and couldn’t sleep because my ankles, calves, thighs – all of both my legs were aching. It made me feel old and out of shape. This is only partially true. I am only relatively old and I walk twice a day 4-5 times a week for at least twenty minutes each time.

There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. (Leonard Cohen’s Anthem)

It made me wonder how Terry Fox did it. How he got up everyday, until the day he couldn’t, and ran.

It is September in Canada. Everybody heads back to work and school. Every small town and big city in the country sponsors a Terry Fox Run. Terry Fox was a man, two years younger than me, who decided after being diagnosed with bone cancer, to run across Canada. His goal was a dollar per person. I was one of those persons.

A long and lonely Saskatchewan highway (less lonely because of people like Terry).

He started his run in April of 1980. I was twenty and deciding on university for the first time. By August, he was half-way across Canada and I was on my way, to Calgary, one province over to start school. I would be far away from my mother and my primary family but close to my father and my secondary family.

The weekend I left for university, my big sister and her new young family drove me to school. Her first baby was around two months old and we camped near Banff on an extremely rainy weekend in a tent which got damp and then soaking wet. That baby boy still camps, I don’t. My idea of roughing it is a cabin.

Terry’s run ended at the beginning of September just before I started school. I was room and boarding with an older couple and can remember going back and forth to watch the news in the living room where the only television was. It wasn’t like it is now with instant updates through various mediums.

Terry called it a postponement but it wasn’t – not for him. In his memory the country started running for him and has never stopped. Next Sunday, September 19th, many will run again and those who don’t will sponsor runners. There will be millions of children running, millions of adults and millions raised for cancer research.

I will remember that young man on the television passing on his vision at the very moment I was rushing toward a future that would turn out to be not at all like I expected it to be.

A smile awaits as runners run under the bridge.

Thank you Terry for dreaming. Remember, if you don’t run,  sponsor a runner wherever you are.

“When I started this run, I said that if we all gave one dollar, we’d have $22 million for cancer research, and I don’t care man, there’s no reason that isn’t possible. No reason!” (Terry Fox)

1 Comment

  1. Marion said,

    You’ve taken me back many years, as I watched and worried over Terry Fox and his run. I was terribly upset that he could not continue, and in my younger years became involved in the Terry Fox runs in my town. Thank you for this post…it’s wonderful that Terry Fox is still being honoured.

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