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Today, Google is remembering Canadian athlete and cancer activist Terry Fox by replacing their homepage logo with a beautifully illustrated and inspirational Doodle.
Born on July 28, 1958, Terry Fox grew up participating in a variety of sports and athletics including basketball, soccer, and distance running. At the age of 18, Fox was diagnosed with bone cancer in his right knee, which forced doctors to amputate his right leg.
Seeing others in the children’s cancer ward, and inspired by Dick Traum — the first amputee to complete the New York Marathon — Terry Fox made a decision to keep running, to encourage people to donate money to cancer research.
I soon realized that that would only be half my quest, for as I went through the 16 months of the physically and emotionally draining ordeal of chemotherapy, I was rudely awakened by the feelings that surrounded and coursed through the cancer clinic. There were faces with the brave smiles, and the ones who had given up smiling. There were feelings of hopeful denial, and the feelings of despair. My quest would not be a selfish one. I could not leave knowing these faces and feelings would still exist, even though I would be set free from mine. Somewhere the hurting must stop….and I was determined to take myself to the limit for this cause.
— Terry Fox, 1979
After 14 months of physical training with his artificial leg, Terry Fox participated in a public marathon then announced to his family that he would run the entire length of Canada from east to west. Fox embarked on this “Marathon of Hope” on April 12, 1980 from the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, proceeding one marathon length (26 miles) per day, with his brother and a friend supporting from a van.
Tragically, after 143 days and 3,339 miles, Terry Fox’s goal was cut short as he requested to be brought to the hospital for chest pains and coughing fits. At the hospital, it was discovered that the cancer had spread to his lungs, and that he would likely never be able to resume the Marathon of Hope.
Following that news, fundraising events were held in his honor that brought the total raised for cancer research from $1.7 million all the way to $23 million. Terry Fox died less than a year later, on June 28, 1981.
On this day in 1981, the first Terry Fox Run event was organized across 760 sites around Canada, held in his honor and at his request. Now these marathon events happen around the world on the second Sunday after Labor Day, raising funds for cancer foundations worldwide. Today’s Google Doodle in honor of that first event and of Terry Fox’s powerful life features a moving depiction of Fox’s original Marathon of Hope, with the clouds in the background spelling “Google.”
Despite the challenges that the world has faced in 2020, it’s still possible to sign up to participate in a Terry Fox Run, with the next event set to take place on September 20. As many of us are still encouraged to practice social distancing, you can participate in a Terry Fox Run from anywhere that it’s safe for you to run, rather than in specifically organized locations. Or, if running isn’t your style, consider donating to one of the participants’ causes through the official website.
barrierestarjournal wrote:The annual Terry Fox run in Barriere has proven time and again that the community has an unending passion for Terry Fox’s dream.
A large part of that passion comes from local Terry Fox Run organizers, Kathy Cooper, Kris Luison, and Dylan Luison, a trio who continue to generously give of their time and energy to make the annual event a success.
“Over the past 39 years Barriere has raised $186,000 for Terry’s Run,” Cooper said. “It is a phenomenal contribution per capita.”
Cooper noted that earlier this year she asked the Terry Fox Foundation for numbers as to how much money has been raised by Barriere. They didn’t have the information from 1981 to 1988, “so I added the numbers that Dylan Luison found during his investigation into creating his ‘Barriere Terry Fox Run’ Heritage Fair project when he was a student at Barriere Elementary School. Dylan, and his mom Kris, spent a lot of time down at the Star/Journal newspaper office combing through their archived articles to find the Run information.”
This year will be the 40th anniversary of the ‘Run’. The Terry Fox Foundation and everyone involved is looking forward to commemorating this amazing milestone, but due to the current pandemic, some changes have been made. A Virtual Run will be held across Canada on Sept. 20 with the theme is “One Day. Your Way,” according to the Terry Fox Foundation website.
“This year has been particularly difficult, to say the least, but we need you now more than ever. On Sunday, Sept. 20, we ask that you continue to support cancer research by participating in and fundraising for your Virtual Run,” the website reads. “We leave it up to you to choose how to celebrate your Terry Fox effort – walk, run, dance, hike – on a favourite route and with your favourite people. Most importantly, we need you to honour the day by fundraising for cancer research.”
A comment made by Terry Fox long ago fits appropriately for this year’s Run: “Even though I’m not running anymore, people should go ahead and try to do their own thing.”
A social distancing tent will be set up in downtown Barriere to sell commemorative t-shirts, accept donations and inform potential participants of virtual registration, Cooper said. “We are also contacting the local bottle depot to accept donations.”
Kris Luison says the 2020 Run has experienced ongoing delays in getting 40th Anniversary Terry Fox Run merchandise and materials in on time as COVID-19 seems to have caused shipping delays from t-shirt suppliers. However, the good news is the shirts will be individually packaged this year to limit the number of people who have touched them.
Barriere’s Terry Fox Run organizers encourage both young and old to step up and participate in the 40th anniversary of the Marathon of Hope. Cooper noted the community has been big supporters of the event. “The Star/Journal has been such a wonderful advocate for Terry’s Dream, and we can’t tell enough how much the newspaper’s thorough coverage of the ‘Run’ each year means to us.”
“Do what works for you,” says Cooper. “It’s “Your Way” in 2020 – but please participate – walk, run, bike, hike, skate, or wheel.”
For more information about the Barriere Terry Fox Run and how you can participate call Kathy Cooper at 250-672-5758, or Kris Luison at 250-672-5929. You will also find them set-up in the foyer at Barriere AG Foods until Sept. 18.