“It took cancer to realize that being self-centered is not the way to live. The answer is to try and help others.” Terry Fox
I was 5 when Terry Fox began his epic journey across Canada. I remember watching this on a television with bunny ears and no remote. He would run in the rain, fog, and cold, with his prosthetic limb and very distinguishable gait. Even in a world without the internet, Facebook, email and Twitter, news of his journey spread and touched millions of Canadians. Unfortunately, Terry died before he could complete his journey, at the way-too-young age of 22.
What I find so incredible about Terry’s story, however, is that it didn’t die with him. Even 34 years later Canada remains committed to continuing his legacy through education about Terry, his disease and his mission, and by continuing to promote and encourage others to run as Terry did, and to donate. My children will again participate in the Terry Fox Run this September, as I did in school before them.
According to the Terry Fox Foundation, to date they have raised over $600M for cancer research. But above the massive amounts of money raised, and the heroic action of being one man, all alone, dedicated to raising funds and awareness for an important cause, Terry set an example. He became a poster-boy for overcoming challenges and to have hope. He paved the way for others (Rick Hansen included) to do epic things to raise awareness, and money, to fight for important causes. He demonstrated, as his quote indicates, that being self-centered does not progress a Nation, nor does it raise a generation of loving youth committed to the greater good. The answer is to help others. In some way, or some form, to give back and make your existence matter. This can be as simple as a kind word or friendly gesture, or as significant as donating time, money or careers to worthy causes. We have a lot to learn from Terry Fox – still – even if he is only here in spirit to teach us.
photo courtesy of www.historymuseum.ca