10 January 2014

Inspired by Terry Fox

Last month, a special holiday edition of Reader’s Digest arrived in the mailbox. It contained 17 of the best stories published in the magazine. One of the articles that particularly caught my attention is the story of Terry Fox, and how Nelson Mandela found inspiration in this same article many years ago while he was in prison.

“Terrance Stanley "Terry" Fox CC OD (July 28, 1958 – June 28, 1981) was a Canadian athlete, humanitarian, and cancer research activist. In 1980, with one leg having been amputated, he embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Although the spread of his cancer eventually forced him to end his quest after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 mi), and ultimately cost him his life, his efforts resulted in a lasting, worldwide legacy. The annual Terry Fox Run, first held in 1981, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research; over C$500 million has been raised in his name.”
(source: Wikipedia)

Having read the story in one sitting, the first thing I felt was admiration for Terry Fox. He knew what we wanted to do, prepared for it, and did it. He did not expect any glory for himself, rather he thought that something must be done about cancer research and he set a goal for himself.
(photo credit: 98.1CHFI)

But I also felt sadness. He was too young to have left the world. He was only 23 when he died. I was just finishing my university degree at that age, wondering what lay ahead while Terry at the same age was battling cancer.

But above all, he is an inspiration to the people of Canada, and to all people from all walks of life, and I am fortunate to have read his story too.  His marathon is an extraordinary feat, performed by an ordinary person.  It's a powerful message for everyone: we can effect change, and we must take action no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, to make this place better.

Visit www.terryfox.org/ to learn more about Terry Fox and the Terry Fox Foundation.

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