Last Sunday was the 34th anniversary of the Terry Fox Run.
If you don’t know the story, you’re likely not Canadian. But it is an incredible legacy.
It is highly unlikely that when Terry first dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean on April 12, 1980, to start his Marathon of Hope, he had any idea of the lasting effect he would have.
An entire country followed his lead, after his run was cut short, just outside of Thunder Bay, Ont., five months later. Spurred by Isadore Sharp, of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, an annual fundraising run was organized in his name.
“You started it. We will not rest until your dream to find a cure for cancer is realized,” said Sharp in a telegram to the Fox family.
So it began.
And its had a lasting legacy in Victoria where close to 1,000 took part in the annual run – many who took part were not even alive when Terry succumbed to cancer – and raised more than $21,000.
The Terry Fox Foundation has grown to in excess of $650 million, to support cancer research in Terry’s name.
To most, the thought of that much money not already producing a cure is unfathomable. The problem is the disease itself. It is the most baffling disease known, because of its inconsistencies. It can run in the family, but it’s not genetic.
It can be caused by smoking, but smoking does not invariably lead to lung cancer.
It can be deadly, but it can also be benign.
Before a definitive cure for cancer can be achieved, a link between all cancers must be discovered. We are not there yet.
Terry’s initial letter to the Canadian Cancer Society, asking for support of his Marathon of Hope, included the line “I’m not a dreamer, and I’m not saying this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer, but I believe in miracles.”