Terry Fox passed away at the age of 22 on June 28, 1981, but not before he ran into the hearts of millions of Canadians like me.
I’ve run a marathon – I know how it feels to push yourself beyond what you feel is possible. Terry ran close to 42km everyday for 143 days, on one good leg and one artificial one made of fiberglass and steel.
After 18 months and running over 5,000 kilometres (3,107 miles) to prepare, Terry started his run in St. John’s, Newfoundland on April 12, 1980…with very little fanfare.
He ran on against 40 mile-an-hour winds;
he ran on through 38C days with high humidity;
he ran on even when he was run off the road;
he ran through the blisters and the cramps and the constant pain;
he ran with a grimace that betrayed the intensity required to achieve his dream of crossing Canada and raising a $1 from ever Canadian for cancer research;
he ran on with an optimism that was fueled by tenacity and a competitive drive;
he ran on until he couldn’t run anymore.
On September 1st, after 5,373 kilometres, Terry was forced to stop running outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario because cancer had appeared in his lungs. An entire nation was stunned and saddened.
At his passing, the Prime Minister of Canada summed up the feelings of Canadians in the House of Commons, “It occurs very rarely in the life of a nation that the courageous spirit of one person unites all people in the celebration of his and in the mourning of his death. Terry gave far more to his country than his country could give to him.”
His epitaph reads, “He made his too short life into a marathon of hope and courage.”
An 83-kilometre (52 mile) section of the Trans-Canada Highway, between Thunder Bay and Nipigon, is renamed the “Terry Fox Courage Highway” in Terry’s honour.
Everybody needs a highway of courage to travel on.
Robert (Bob) W. Jones is a recovering perfectionist, who collects Coca-Cola memorabilia and drinks Iced Tea. His office walls are adorned with his sons’ framed football jerseys, and his library shelves, with soul food. He writes to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose.
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