Saturday, August 15, 2009

Being inspired: Terry Fox

Most Canadian’s will know Terry Fox’s story.

I only became aware of Terry’s amazing life when I moved to Canada last year.

For those of you who don’t know, Terry was diagnosed with bone cancer when he was just 18, and forced to have his right leg amputated above the knee in 1977.

So moved by the suffering of other cancer patients whilst in hospital, Terry decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research.

Here is the mind blowing part.

Terry ran 42 kilometres (26 miles) a day through Canada's Atlantic provinces, Quebec and Ontario! A marathon a day. With a prosthetic leg. Simply incredible.

Unfortunately on September 1st, after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 miles), 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. Terry passed away on June 28, 1981 at the age 22.

Terry’s legacy lives on through the work of his foundation and the cancer research that their support has funded, having raised close to half a billion dollars in the last 30 years.

I had the privilege today to go and present to the folks at the Terry Fox Foundation. Which was an incredibly humbling and inspiring experience.

Over lunch one of the guys was talking about how he’d been for a 30 minute run that morning. One of his colleagues remarked at how impressive that was getting up so early in the morning. His response: “Terry ran 143 marathons. 30 minutes is nothing”. He went on to say (remarkably) that the 89km he once ran in a day in South Africa was also “nothing” in comparison to Terry’s feats. It was all about “perspective” as he put it. How true. I sometimes need to get a bit of that perspective, we probably all do.

It’s hard not to love your job when you hear stuff like this and get to meet some wonderful people.

Thanks to the gang at the Terry Fox Foundation for having me in. You’re an amazing bunch of people continuing on Terry’s great work. Oh, and I look forward to the run in a few weeks! Stay posted for that one readers….


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