Sunday, September 19, 2010

Terry Fox: My Great Canadian Icon

In a country where so many make heroes and icons out of dumb, goonish hockey players, I'm glad I've got a real Canadian hero and icon named Terry Fox.

It's so great to see so many people running to remember him so many years after his death. So great to see that his dream didn't die with him.

Fox's dream of earning a dollar from every Canadian was called unrealistic when he began his Marathon of Hope in 1980.

Now, his foundation has raised $550 million. A belief that Fox showed Canada, running 42 kilometers a day across the country on a prosthetic leg. Now, his legacy spans 40 countries around the world.

And I love the fact that one of the biggest Terry Fox runs is held in poor little Cuba.

Where he not only inspires handicapped kids, he helps battle the stigma of cancer itself.

A few years ago I saw a documentary on Terry's life, and was moved to tears by what he said on the day he was forced to give up. With a mixture of sorrow, anger, and defiance that I can relate to so well.

I told S├ębastien I absolutely had to visit the place where his run ended. And so we did, driving for days all the way from Montreal. 

When we got to the monument near Thunder Bay, it was late afternoon, and the place was deserted. We spent half an hour cleaning up the pop cans, beer bottles and other garbage.

Then we just sat there as the sun went down over an angry Lake Superior. We didn't say anything, but I think we were both thinking the same thing. How did that little guy find the strength to make it all the way here? Was that AWESOME or what? And how sad that he couldn't have made it all the way.

If he had survived he would have been fifty-two this year. But of course while time moves on, and we age, he'll always be young.

Terrance Stanley Fox, my Canadian icon.

Running on forever, to give people HOPE...


prin said...


Anonymous said...

Terry Fox was inspiring. Too bad that we don't have inspiring leadership in Ottawa--or anywhere else, come to that.

Simon said...

hi prin...thanks. I heart Terry Fox for reminding me to try to be a better person and a better Canadian. Unfortunately I need reminding... ;)

Simon said...

hi Torontonian...yes he was inspiring. And as I told prin he represents the kind of Canada I believe in. We've been living in the shadow of the grotesque Con regime for so long, we need to cling to all the good things and Canadian values that made our country great...