I remember Terry Fox – vividly. I was very young and can recall little else about that early part of my childhood. But I remember him. And I will never, ever forget him.
What Terry Fox did was amazing. It was something no one had ever seen before; a young cancer survivor, with a prosthetic leg, running essentially a marathon-a-day for months on end to raise money for cancer research. His fearlessness and tenacity were startling. Although he was not large in stature, his spirit made him seem 10 feet tall. His smile was magnetic. Through all types of weather and the darkness of night – he ran. Even when he was in pain and his health was failing – he kept on running. Until cancer forced him to end his run, he never gave up.
Here is what Terry taught me:
- You can do it – whatever it is. As Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” Like Terry, you may not make it to the end or finish quite how you would have liked, but believe in yourself and go as far as you can.
- Keep trying. Things will happen. Obstacles will fall into your path. Stick with it. Do your best. Ask for help. You’ll never know what you are capable of if you don’t get out there and try.
- Unlikely doesn’t mean impossible. Although it was unlikely that a young man with a prosthetic leg (a device whose weight and mobility in 1980 was certainly not what it is today) could run 42 kilometres a day – it happened. Anything can.
- It only takes one person to make a difference. Over 30 years later, we are still running, striving and raising money for cancer research in the name of Terry Fox. My children know his name, what he did and why it matters. Pretty darn good for one young man whose feat happened at a time without the Internet, 25 TV news channels or social media to tell the world about it! Imagine what one person can do today!
As many folks in our community and across the country prepare for this year’s Terry Fox Run, I thought it appropriate to think about his message and pass on to our kids what he taught my generation about life. Believe in yourself, take the plunge, get out there and just do it – whatever the cause. No matter how your journey ends, the experience was worth it.
Do you have a Terry Fox story?
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About this blogger:
Paula D’Orazio RN is a public health nurse with the Early Years Health Program at the Halton Region Health Department. Wanna know more about her? Read her blogs! She’ll tell ya! (She kinda likes to talk.)