The Press Box for June 19
While attending a local relay for life event recently a friend told me the most amazing sports story I ever heard. I found it nearly impossible to believe yet the facts bare the truth. The greatest sports feat of all time was accomplished by a 22 year old from Canada with one leg. It’s a story of determination. It’s a tale of what can be accomplished with the will power to overcome obstacles. If you’re Canadian, you’ve probably heard of Terry Fox.
Terry Fox was born in 1958 and grew up in British Columbia. He was an exceptional athlete playing high school hockey, basketball, lacrosse, and running track. On November 12, 1976, while in college, the 18-year old was driving home, he became distracted by nearby bridge construction, and crashed into the back of a pickup truck. He emerged with only a sore right knee which he ignored. He again felt pain in December, but chose to ignore it until the end of basketball season. But by March 1977, the pain had intensified and he finally went to a hospital, where he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma.
So is the story of Terry Fox. A normal person like you and me who became an icon of inspiration. He was a lively, cheerful person who dedicated his life to his sports. In 1977, when Fox was diagnosed with cancer, he was told that his leg had to be amputated, he would require chemotherapy, and that recent medical advances meant he had only a 50 percent chance of survival.
The story is a former coach brought him an inspiring book about a man who ran the New York Marathon with one leg. This gave new hope to Terry who decided to not let an artificial leg keep him from living the life he wanted. So within three weeks of losing his leg he was walking on an artificial leg and soon was playing golf with his dad.
Fox decided to raise awareness about cancer and raise money for research by running across Canada. He would call it the “Marathon of Hope.” his goal was to cover 6,000 miles by running a Marathon a day. His treck began on April 12, 1980, at St. John’s, New Foundland, after nearly two years of training.
Every day he ran an average of 26 miles; the length of an entire marathon with an artificial leg. On September 1, 1980, after running for 143 days straight, and covering 3,339 miles he had to abandon is run and return home for treatment. The cancer had returned and spread to his lungs. Terry Fox died short of his 23rd birthday, but his legacy lives on.
Here are some of the honors he has received in his name for his courageous fight to help others overcome cancer:
In 1999 Terry Fox was voted Canada’s greatest national hero of all time in a magazine survey. To date, over $750 million has been raised worldwide for cancer research in Terry’s name through the annual Terry Fox Run, held across Canada and around the world.
The Terry Fox Library in Port Coquitlam, B.C., houses 100,000 artifacts from Fox’s life and the Marathon of Hope. One room is stacked floor-to-ceiling with boxes of letters and get-well cards.
All kinds of people from all walks of life are represented, showing just how far Terry Fox Reached. He only made it halfway across Canada, but he touched every corner of the country.
Approximately 32 roads and street, including the Terry Fox Courage highway near Thunder Bay, near where Fox ended his run and where a statue of him was erected as a monument, have been named after him. Many schools and buildings and athletic complexes carry his name. Incluing the High School where he graduated, and the Terry Fox Research Institute in Vancouver. Seven Statues, including the Terry Fox monument in Ottawa, which was the genesis of the Path of Heroes, a federal government initiative that seeks to honor people that shaped the nation.
Nine fitness trails. A previously unnamed mountain in the Canadian Rockies in the Selwyn range, which was named Mount Terry Fox by the government of British Columbia; the area around it is now known as Mount Terry Fox Provincial Park.
The Terry Fox Fountain of Hope was installed in 1982 on the grounds of Rideau Hall; The Canadian Coast Guard Ice breaker CCGS Terry Fox, which was commissioned in 1983; In 2011 a series of bronze sculptures of Fox in motion, designed by author Douglas Coupland and depicting Fox running toward the Pacific Ocean, was unveiled outside BC Place in downtown Vancouver. In 2012, Fox was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in the Builder category in recognition of his public service in the name of research fundraising.
Shortly after his death Fox was named the Newsmaker of the Year for 1981, and Canada Post announced the production of a commemorative stamp in 1981, bypassing its traditionally held position that stamps honoring people should not be created until ten years after their deaths. British Rock Star Rod Stewart was so moved by the Marathon of Hope that he was inspired to write and dedicate the song “Never Give Up on a Dream”, found on his 1981 album Tonight I’m Yours to Fox. Stewart also called his 1981 1982 tour of Canada the “Terry Fox Tour”.
The Terry Fox Hall of Fame was established in 1994 to recognize individuals that have made contributions that improved the quality of life of disabled people. The Royal Canadian Mint produced a special dollar coin in 2005 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Marathon of Hope. It was their first regular circulation coin to feature a Canadian..
In 2008, Fox was named a National Historic Person of Canada, a recognition given by the Canadian government to thos people who are considered to have played a nationally sifnificant role in the history of the country. Fox’s mother, Betty Fox was one of eight people to carry the Olympic Flag into BC Place Stadium at the opening of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Beginning in2015 Manitoba designated the first Monday in August, formally known as Civic Holiday, as Terry Fox Day.