Celebrating the memory of a hero's marathon

By Kendra Hofer
Willerton School
Neepawa, Manitoba

"I just wish people would realize that anything is possible if you try - dreams are made if people try."

With a dream in his own heart, Terry Fox told anyone who listened. Fox had a simple dream. His dream was one that gave others courage and inspiration.

Terry Fox was a courageous young Canadian athlete. He was born as Terrence Stanley Fox in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This young man's life was shattered in 1977 when his right leg was amputated due to bone cancer. With this ordeal just beginning, Fox didn't let himself feel down. Instead he got himself an artificial leg and his dream started to form.

Already, signs of this young man's strong sense of determination were beginning to show. Fox wanted something that only he could get for himself. He wanted a cure for the deadly disease that was haunting him. Amazingly, the unselfish man not only wanted this cure for himself but for the all the other people in Canada and the world who fall victim to cancer each year.

During his recovery from cancer, something inspired Fox to run across Canada - from sea to sea - to raise publicity and money for cancer. Within the first months of his training, he already faced difficulties. But this courageous person was committed to his dream. His strong inspiration helped him continue when the world seemed to blacken before his eyes. After
sixteen months of hard work and dedication, Fox was prepared to run.

A dream was beginning to come true. The Marathon of Hope began on April 12, 1980 when Terry dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean and started his journey. Terry inspired thousands of people. He not only gave hope to cancer victims but to all others trying to cope with a life-threatening disease. Thousands of people lined the streets and highways to cheer on a nation's hero. Because of an encouraging nation's support, the Marathon of Hope was successful.
On September 1, the ugly monster Fox was running from caught up to him. Fox was forced to give up his run after learning that cancer had spread to his lungs. Before it was too late, Canada recognized this hero and awarded him the Order of Canada. We can now only look back and be
thankful that Canada awarded Fox with the highest civilian award before his death.

Terry Fox is a hero to many Canadians. He has opened the door to thousands more. People trying to cope with this disease can look back at the excellent example he set. If it were not for Terry Fox, how can we be sure that cancer would have received so much attention? An amazing amount of money was raised by this individual and this gave researchers a big step towards finding "the cure." Thought we may never have a cure for this disease, Terry gave us the Hope that maybe someday our skies will brighten and a cure will exist.

I was born the year that Terry Fox's life ended. I am very thankful that I have the knowledge of this person. I think he's a hero to our nation and we should all stop and remember him. We need to celebrate this man's achievements and continue to hold runs in his honour every year.

But I don't think we've done enough in return for what he has given us. What is the most important "thing" to Canada? Obviously, it's the people, for without them Canada would not exist. With Terry's strong efforts, he tried to do something for the people of Canada. He wanted to help us out even though he was only clinging to his own life.

Have we given a thank-you back to Terry Fox? Yes, I think so but not nearly enough. The leaders of this country need to set a day aside to pay a special tribute to Terry Fox. I think the day should not be the day he died because his purpose in life was positive and we don't want to remember it on a negative note. Let us celebrate on the day Terry's dream began. With a dip into the ocean, a dream that seemed too dim to ever come true, came to life. Though no longer here, let us never forget Terry Fox. Let us help one another to keep his flame burning.