Monday, April 12, 2010

Terry Fox: 'His story is woven into ours'

Terry Fox began remarkable journey 30 years ago

Toronto Star: April 12 marks the start of Terry's Marathon of Hope, the day in 1980 when he dipped his artificial limb -- looking back it was a cobbling of leather and aluminum, like suspenders -- in the harbour at St. John's, Nfld,. and turned westward. He ran for 143 days until cancer caught up to him. He was 22 when he died June 28, 1981.

His impact is incalculable, until you start to calculate it:
  • $451,737,622 invested in cancer research
  • 1,164 cancer research grants and awards
  • 14 schools
  • 32 streets
  • 7 statues, including one at Simon Fraser university, another in downtown Ottawa and the soaring Terry Fox monument that overlooks Lake Superior, east of Thunder Bay
  • 1 The Terry Fox Hall of Fame, since renamed the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame
  • 9 fitness trails, including Toronto's new Miracle Mile Park... designed in part by the writer and artist Douglas Coupland
  • 1 Terry Fox Gardens in Jerusalem
  • 1 icebreaker -- the Terry Fox, 88 metres long
  • 1 mountain, Mount Terry Fox and provincial park on the British Columbia-Alberta border
  • 14 buildings -- most are athletic facilities, including Mississauga's Terry Fox Fitness Centre and research centres including the new Terry Fox Research institute in Vancouver
537: Number of Canadians who have won the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award since 1982. The effect of these awards ripples through Canada and beyond. Among the winners are six Rhodes Scholars, 70 medical doctors, and 50 teachers. In 2006, the federal government, through the Department of Canadian Heritage, gave the program a $10 million endowment.

23: Number of students awarded Simon Fraser University's Gold Medal Award, given to those, who like Terry, have set goals some might say are beyond their grasp.

2: Number of Olympians honoured in Fox's name. This year, Vancouver's Olympic committee created the Terry Fox Award, in collaboration with Terry's parents, Betty and Rolly Fox. It honours athletes who show the qualities that Terry lived by: courage, perseverance, determination, humility.

His story is woven into ours. 'He was handsome, photogenic, wholesome. Here was a graceful, well-spoken, poignant kid from Port Coquitlam, whose cause was beyond reproach and personal courage was above reproach.' says Andrew Cohen, president of the Historica/Dominion Institute.

The Terry Fox Foundation is encouraging people to share their stories of meeting or seeing Fox during his Marathon of Hope. To take part, go here.
Image source here.