Remembering a Canadian hero

Scott Hems stands with his hero (Submitted)
Scott Hems stands with his hero (Submitted)

He did more than the impossible. He did more than a 143-day run on one leg. More than just 3339 kilometers of pain. More than a marathon of running every day from the Atlantic Ocean, into the wind, across the country and into Thunder Bay, Ont.

Terry Fox ignited a nation full of hope, courage and faith against the deadly disease that took off his right leg six inches above the knee.

Originally, he had the goal of raising one dollar for every Canadian citizen. Today over $500 million has been raised in his name.

The annual Terry Fox Run is approaching, with all proceeds going towards cancer research.

To many people, this run is a lot more than a standard 5K. Every Canadian is familiar with his legacy. Statues of him are spread from coast to coast. There are also numerous mountains, highways and high schools named after Fox. He was more than a man, and still is 32 years after his death.

The run started before he dipped his leg in the Atlantic Ocean. It started when Fox sat in a hospital room years earlier, being told he would lose his leg to cancer. He was not going to accept this fate.

As he said in his fundraising letter, “somewhere the hurting must stop.” Fox had the courage to try and change everything.

Most people don’t realize what it took for this journey to happen. Some towns gave no money. Some cars tried to run him off the road. Some people called him a “freak” during his training. Somehow, he kept moving forward to raise money for cancer research, before his cancer returned to end his run and ultimately kill him.

It’s beyond moving to stand in front of a statue of him. I can only imagine what it would be like to see him stumbling his way through N.L., P.E.I., N.S., N.B., Que. and most of Ont.

We take the message he sent out for granted. Most miles I run, he’s somewhere in my mind. In some way, I know he’s proud of me for the miles I’ve put in and what I’ve accomplished.

Some of us know the courage it takes to not give up, stand up for a cause, risk your life for a strong belief or simply keep going when times are tough.

This is why we’re Canadian. This is why we are human. Courage is the difference between giving up and winning.

If he can put in 3339 km for a cure, we can do three.

The Fredericton Terry Fox Run is Sept. 15 at 2 p.m. at the Pedway by the lighthouse downtown.


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