Terry Fox Remembered

Thirty years ago today Terry Fox began his Canadian coast to coast Marathon of Hope. His goal was to raise one million dollars for cancer research. He ran an incredible average of 42 km a day for 143 days. Unfortunately cancer stopped him before he could complete the run, and at age 22 it took his life.

Since then others have taken up what he started and have now raised over $500M.

Terry proved one person can make a difference.

TERRY STANLEY FOX

July 28, 1958June 28, 1981

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Tenacity despite the odds

“If you will it, it is not a dream.”  That’s such a crappy platitude! It suggests we can achieve anything if we want it badly enough but reality shouts otherwise. There are some circumstances we simply can’t change. Does that mean we shouldn’t try?

 

Consider Terry Fox* and Jeneece Edroff**. Consider Albert Einstein***. Each faced significant obstacles but still achieved great things. If they allowed the negative aspects of life to tempt them into a fetal position where navel-gazing was their main preoccupation, none of their accomplishments would have materialized.

 

How does this apply to our writing? Whether or not a person will be a writer is not something determined by anyone else. A writer is someone who writes, someone who transfers thoughts into written words. Dreaming about writing won’t get anything written but reaching for the pen (or keyboard) will, because every journey begins from where we are and proceeds one step at a time. Tenacity keeps us moving.

 

I try to remember this when the words won’t come or seem trivial and I am tempted to give up. 

 

* “Terry Fox was only 18 years old when he was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer) and forced to have his right leg amputated 15 centimetres (six inches) above the knee in 1977. While in hospital, Terry was so overcome by the suffering of other cancer patients, many of them young children, that he decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research… To date, more than $400 million has been raised worldwide for cancer research in Terry’s name.”

 

**  Jeneece Edroff lives with neurofibromatosis, a rare and painful genetic neurological condition. Despite her own medical obstacles, she has a desire to help other kids who have special challenges. With the help of friends and family, she organized a penny drive, which has spread across the province. In 2008, the province-wide campaign raised over $600,000 all of which stayed in B.C. Since starting the coin drive, Jeneece has raised over $1 million.”

 

*** In 1896 Albert Einstein entered the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich to be trained as a teacher in physics and mathematics. In 1901, the year he gained his diploma, he acquired Swiss citizenship [but] was unable to find a teaching post, [so] he accepted a position as technical assistant in the Swiss Patent Office…
During his stay at the Patent Office, and in his spare time, he produced much of his remarkable work… Albert Einstein received honorary doctorate degrees in science, medicine and philosophy from many European and American universities… In 1921 he won the Nobel Prize in Physics.” (From Nobel Lectures, Physics 1901-1921, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1967)