This year marks 35 years since my own personal hero, Terry Fox, took the battle against cancer on himself, with his Marathon of Hope kicking off April 12th, 1980. While Terry ran through every type of weather, road condition and health issue possible, he did it with grace, dignity and the take no prisoners attitude that I admire most about him.
When Terry began his run, I wasn’t even alive yet. I was born months into his run, and the memory of him is a powerful one that is bigger than I can attempt to explain. Family members of mine retell how they lined up in Ontario to welcome Terry, cheering his name and like everyone else, just in awe of what he was accomplishing.
It would be years after his death that I would learn more about him, with kids all across Canada taking part in his annual namesake run. I grew up knowing him, sharing his vision and empowered by his determination. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been running, just thinking about how much harder this giant hill would be with only one leg. Or with cancer spread into my lungs, as was his eventual fate. His mission, of every Canadian giving one dollar has long been met, but the bigger goal, of beating cancer, is still a top priority.
I could name all the people close to me that I’ve lost to cancer. Or I could tell you how I, due to this family history, get poked and proded regularly, burning a hole into my OHIP card it feels like sometimes- but much like Terry, this run wasn’t to cure his cancer, or to prevent mine. This selfless run and fundraiser is for everyone. Your sister. His uncle. Your neighbour’s cousin.
So, as team captain of my Terry Fox team, I invite you to join us. Not me, us. Raise money, run, show support. There’s no minimum, there’s no bibs, there’s no competition (other than a little friendly one).
As a bonus this year, to help raise awareness and hopefully a little money, my darling kiddo has once again (that’s right, this is her second go of it) grown her hair to obscene lengths in order to chop it all off again to donate to the cancer society’s hair donation charity with Pantene, an important donation, one in which people suffering from cancer can receive wigs from real human hair, taking some of the sting out of the debilitating effects of the disease. It takes between 8-15 donations to make one wig, so if running isn’t your thing, perhaps growing your hair is?