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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Terry Fox (July 28, 1953–June 28, 1981)


Every year between the months of August and November, millions of people from around the world, myself included, will take part in an annual charity event called the ‘Terry Fox Run’. Little do we know however, the real story behind it.

Terry Fox was a runner who ran with a cause. He was short of celebrating his 19th birthday when he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. This is a type of cancer which usually starts near the knee. What started as a sore knee, deteriorated, causing doctors to decide to amputate his right leg, while giving him a 50% chance of living.

His experience with cancer caused him to value the importance of cancer research. The 50% he had to live, was actually only 15% two years prior. This prompted him to come up with a radical idea, to run the length of his birth country, Canada, and hoped to raise $1 for each of Canada’s population at that time, for cancer research.

The run was called the Marathon of Hope. The marathon began on April 12, 1980. Terry was forced however to end the run after 143 days, as he suffered intense coughing, and felt severe pain in his chest. It was diagnosed later that the cancer had returned and this time had spread into his lungs. He already ran 3,339 miles, and raised $1.7 million when he stopped.

Further chemotherapy session ensued, and on June 28, 1981, a month short of his 23 birthday, with his family by his side, Terry Fox finally breathe his last breath after falling into a coma.

Today the world celebrates annually a person who had inspired many, when he started running in prosthesis barely 30 years ago. A foundation named after him, The Terry Fox Foundation, has raised more than $500 million through the Terry Fox Run, and channeled it for cancer research. He embarked on a painful journey, which for him might be short, but has left an inedible mark for human kind.

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