Terry Fox runs honour a true hero

You can’t hear the Terry Fox story without feeling something inside.

Maybe it’s pride, maybe it’s sadness, maybe it’s admiration for his determination. But even today, if it’s pity, keep it to yourself, he never wanted that from anyone.

Fox was a fighter, all his life. As a little guy growing up, he had to work twice as hard as bigger kids.

When he didn’t show an aptitude for basketball, his Physical Education coach suggested he take up track and field, and Fox became a runner. but he didn’t forget his desire to play basketball, and he kept working at getting better until he made the team.

At the end of his first year at university, Fox experienced extreme pain in one knee. A week later he learned he had a malignant, cancerous tumor.

Four days after that, his leg would be amputated, and he was given a 50 to 70 per cent chance of surviving the cancer.

The night before his amputation, Fox’s high school basketball coach brought him a running magazine that featured an article about an amputee who had run in the New York City Marathon. They say that Fox dreamed that night about running across Canada.

The next year and four months in recovery had a profound, lasting effect on Fox.

“He saw suffering as he’d never seen it before. “He heard screams of pain. He saw strong, young bodies wasted by disease.

“He never forgot what he’d seen and when he left the cancer clinic for the last time, he left with a burden of responsibility.

“He was among the lucky one-third of patients who survived,” according to his official story on terryfox.org.
Two years later Fox was running.

He trained for 15 months, and ran 3,159 miles, until the stump from his amputated leg was raw, and bleeding.

He ran every day until he could manage 23 miles at a time.

Fox told his parents he was running across Canada. He approached the Canadian Cancer Society, who doubted his ability to raise $1,000,000, but Fox earned the sponsors, he wrote many letters. He said, “I could not leave [the hospital] 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 those causes.”

Read the full story in the latest edition of The Community Press. 

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Leslie Cholowsky

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