“I’m gonna do my very best. I’ll fight. I promise I won’t give up! ” Terry said this after he had to give up in Thunder bay, Ontario. Terrance Stanley Fox is a hero to me because he set examples to younger and older people to raise awareness and money towards supporting cancer. He is my idol because my grandpa was diagnosed with cancer in 2001 and had it for 5 years and due to a seizure he tragically died on July 28th, 2005. Terry Fox was born on July 28th, 1958. In his younger years he was always an active sports fan, diving being his favourite, there were soccer, rugby, baseball, and basketball.
However, he wasn’t as tall as the other boys so he had to work hard, practice after practice; he finally made the basketball team. He was extremely competitive and had a huge amount of determination. After he became older and older, at the age of 18 he was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer) and was forced to have he right leg amputated 15 centimetres (6 inches) above the knee. Three weeks after he was diagnosed, he was fitted for his first artificial leg in 1977. Unfortunately, he had to go to hospital.
While in hospital, Terry was so overwhelmed by the suffering of other cancer patients, he read about a one-legged athlete who ran the New York City Marathon. “I can do that,” he thought, and soon began his dream of running across Canada, motivated by the courage of others undergoing painful cancer treatment, many of them young, he decide to raise money for cancer awareness and research. He would call this journey the “Marathon of Hope” When he began training, he kept his dream a secret. He told his family he was training for the Vancouver Marathon. The beginning was tough.
He spent most of his time falling down and picking him self off the floor. He kept going, though, and after more than a year, and over 4,800 kilometres of running, he announced his plans to his family. He said his goal was to collect $1 for every person living in the country – at the time Canada had a population of about 24 million. Support for his cause gradually built. Before his run, he collected donations including the camper van his friend Doug drove during the run. It was given to him by the Ford Motor Co. It was a journey Canadians would never forget.
Finally, on April 12, 1980, with little fanfare, Terry Fox dipped his artificial foot in the Atlantic Ocean off St. John’s, Nfld. , and began his Marathon of Hope. Terry ran about 42 kilometres each day no matter the weather – freezing rain, high winds, even snow. Sceptics thought he’d never make it past New Brunswick but he proved them wrong and Terry Fox became a household name. He ran through Dartmouth, Charlottetown, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and a long list of places in between. When he wasn’t on the move, he gave speeches that were often emotional, touching the hearts of many Canadians.
When August came along, Terry passed through Sudbury, the halfway mark on his journey west. But on Sept. 1, chest pains and breathing problems forced him to stop running at a spot along the Trans-Canada Highway northeast of Thunder Bay. After 143 days and 5,373 kilometres, he announced he would have to postpone the rest of the run, saying “I’m gonna do my very best. I’ll fight; I promise I won’t give up. ” Terry was sent to a hospital in B. C. where doctors discovered the source of his chest pains: cancer had spread to his lungs. The Marathon of Hope would have to go on without him.
In the months that followed, donations kept coming. A total of $24. 17 million was raised, surpassing Terry’s initial goal. An entire nation was stunned and saddened. Terry passed away on June 28, 1981 at age 22. On June 28 1981, after undergoing chemotherapy and interferon treatment, Terry Fox died at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster BC. He was one month shy of his 23rd birthday. In February 1981, Terry’s dream of raising one dollar for every Canadian towards the fight against cancer was realized. The heroic Canadian was gone, but his legacy was just beginning.
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