On Sept. 1, 1980, 22-year-old Terry Fox knew something was different. After 18 miles, his chest hurt and he developed a cough. It wasn’t the pain: he’d run 143 marathons a day in a row using a primitive prosthesis that offered an awkward gait, painful bruises and blisters.
Terry Fox was nearing the end of his journey, 3,339 miles from his starting point in St. John’s. He’d run through six provinces, completing two-thirds of his cross-Canada journey. His goal: to raise a dollar for each of Canada’s 24 million people — which he did, and finish his Marathon of Hope in his home province on the Pacific shores at Vancouver.
Cancer robbed Terry of his right leg at 17. The coughs and chest pain on Sept. 1, were signs of cancer in his lungs that took his life 10 months later. Cancer, however, couldn’t kill his spirit or dream.
From its quiet start in 1980, Terry’s Marathon of Hope has grown into the world’s largest one-day cancer fundraiser. Millions of participants in more than 60 countries continue Terry’s dream: to cure cancer. His modest goal of $24 million has grown to more than $700 million. The odds of beating cancer are considerably better: the cancer that forced Terry’s amputation can now be cured.
The example Terry Fox set and the foundation that bears his name mean a lot to me — this will be my 23rd year participating. It’s simple and honourable: no entry fee, no minimum pledge, no sponsorships or advertising, and 84 cents of every dollar is used to fund cancer research.
On Sunday, Sept. 17, participants across the world will walk, run, ride, and in-line skate to support this great cause. Olds residents have participated since the first event and endured everything from rain, snow, sleet and cold, to hot and humid run days.
Noel D’arcy and Justin Andrew of the Olds Fire Department, along with several volunteers, are organizing this year’s event. Registration begins at 10 a.m. The run starts at 11 a.m. You can donate online on the Terry Fox site. If you prefer a paper pledge sheet, go to: www.terryfox.org/wp-content/uploads/…/2016_English_Community_101_Print.pdf, or Google Terry Fox pledge sheet. Hope to see you on Sunday.