Sunday September 15th is the 33rd annual Terry Fox Run. I’m sure many of you already know that Terry Fox was a very determined, young, man who having lost his leg to cancer, set out to run across our entire country to raise funds for awareness and research into that, often, devastating disease. Do you know all of his story?
Following a minor car accident in November 1976, Terry was left with a sore right knee. He mostly ignored the pain, since he was an athlete he was used to it, but when it continued into February of the next year he sought treatment and received painkillers. When the pain became debilitating in March of 1977 he again visited his family doctor who quickly diagnosed osteosarcoma. This is a cancer of the connective tissue and is the most common primary cancer of the bone. On March 9th, when he was only 18, Terry’s right leg was amputated just above the knee. The night before his surgery, Terry’s high school basketball coach visited him and not knowing what to say, he showed Terry an article about an amputee runner who had participated in the New York marathon. This planted the seed for Terry’s idea to run across Canada.
Terry’s doctor told him that his cancer treatment was new and that in the 3 years that it had been in use it had increased survival by 25-50 percent. This news made Terry realize the value of cancer research. While in hospital Terry was so overcome by the suffering of other cancer patients, many of them children, that he truly wanted to help. He began training for his “Marathon of Hope” in February of 1979 and set out on April 12 1980 to raise “just one dollar from each Canadian” to help fund cancer research and fight the disease that took his leg. After running 42 miles or 26 kilometers daily (the equivalent of a daily marathon) for 143 days and a total of 3,339 miles, Terry was forced to stop running due to the cancer spreading to his lungs. By Feb. 1981, Terry’s hope of raising $1.00 from every Canadian was realized and $21 million was the total in the Marathon of Hope fund.
After Terry’s death on June 28 1981, just one month short of his 23rd birthday, the first Terry Fox Run is organized and held on Sept 13th in 760 sites in Canada and other parts of the world. Dedicated volunteers and participants have kept Terry’s legacy alive over the years and to date close to $500 million has been raised worldwide for cancer research in Terry’s name through the annual Terry Fox Run. Please consider joining the Terry Fox Run in your community this year. You don’t need to run a marathon. It’s a non-competitive, family event that consists of 1,3, 5 or 10 km distances you can walk, run or cycle. Please take an hour or two out of a September Sunday to participate. Cancer doesn’t take a break. If Terry could run a marathon daily on one leg surely we, able bodied people can walk/run or cycle a few kilometers in his memory. The Port Elgin event starts, rain or shine, Sunday September 15 th with registration at 12:30 p.m. from the Northshore Park Pavillion. You can look on line at www.terryfox.org to find other sites or information. Hope to see you out!!