The Marathon of Hope – Terry Fox’s Inspirational Story

Once again the inspirational story of Terry Fox started off as an ordinary one. Terry Fox was a normal human being growing up in British Columbia when cancer struck him at the age of 18. He was diagnosed with bone cancer in his right knee and amputation of the leg at knee was the only way to save his life at that time.

After amputation, Terry was fitted with an artificial leg and went on to try and live a normal life as a teenager. He never complained about his fate and was always cheerful. One day, he had a vision of raising funds and awareness through a run across Canada to help people that were stricken by cancer. That was the start of the inspirational story of Terry Fox that would leave behind a legacy of hope for the entire world.

At the furthest point of Eastern Canada at St John, New Foundland overseeing the Atlantic Ocean, Terry set a target to reach Vancouver, British Columbia on the west coast at the Pacific.  He did not start a time line for his run, but decided to run a marathon a day until he could complete his mission. One of the most amazing aspects of the Terry Fox inspirational story was the fact that when he started, he was just an ordinary Canadian Citizen who nobody but his family and close friends knew. His loved ones tried to discourage him by saying that it was impossible to achieve something like that with only one leg. His mother tried to get him to do a smaller project by running across just British Columbia. Terry replied that not only people in BC has cancer.

Prior to starting, Terry did his preparation by training for 14 months on an artificial leg. He also endorsed the help of his brother, Darell Fox, and good friend, Doug Alward to accompany his run on a support vehicle during his run. He charted his route. They were to start at St John, New Foundland, proceed to Ottawa, the Canadian Capital, and pass through Toronto, a huge metropolitan area, onwards to Thunder Bay before heading west towards Vancouver. Along the way, he hoped to raise money for cancer and awakens people to the need for it. Before long, they were ready for the Marathon of Hope and the inspirational story for all.

It was a lonely start for the first two months. Not many people knew him or were aware of his mission. Donation from the public was also trickling in. It was not a good start but Terry did not feel dishearten. He kept running. He would wake up at 4am daily, run 12 miles, rest and than complete the rest of the 14 miles for the day. It was not easy, but as he pressed on and his big break came.

As he entered Ontario, a person by the name of Bill Vigars arranged for him to kick off a Canadian Football League game. It was the first big crowd exposure for Terry and his inspirational story. That triggered torrents of donations from people around the country. As he ran, the crowd and support grew bigger. Entering Toronto, Terry set a new ambition of raising a dollar for every Canadian citizen for cancer – $24m in all. With Bill Vigars publicizing his run and an awaken nation following his journey, Terry became stronger and kept running. Then disaster struck.

As he entered Thunder Bay, having run 3339 miles so far, Terry felt unwell and asked to stop. He was taken to hospital and was diagnosed with tumors in his lungs. They were the size of lemons and golf balls. The cancer that has ruptured his youth has return. He was flown back to his home in Vancouver and given treatment. But deep inside him, Terry wanted to complete his mission and inspirational story. He never had that opportunity as he lost his fight against cancer and die on 28 June 1981. He was only 22 years old.

Canada and the world never forgot Terry Fox. The nation mourned the lost of an inspirational figure – an ordinary citizen stepping forward to inspire hope for everyone. At Thunder Bay, a statue was built to honor him. Around the world, The Terry Fox Run became an annual campaign to raise millions for cancer patients and research. What resonated most with people about Terry Fox were his honesty, innocence, determination and love for children with cancer. He did not complete his run, but the others completed his mission and inspirational story.