Monday, 4 December 2006

Ordinary guy, extraordinary hero

If it's true there really are five people you
meet in heaven, can one of mine be Terry Fox?

This is the Canadian story that brings me to tears every time I get near it, which I did on a couple of occasions this past summer.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Terry Fox's awe-inspiring Marathon of Hope, the self-proclaimed "ordinary guy" ran the equivalent of a marathon a day, every day, from Newfoundland to Thunder Bay, Ontario - on one leg - to raise money for cancer research.

His incredible journey, which began in April 1980, was to take him all the way to the Pacific Ocean. By the time he got here to Thunder Bay, the cancer had spread to his lungs and he was forced to quit - after running for 143 days and 5,373 kilometres. They say Lance Armstrong has the heart of a lion, but I'm willing to bet Terry Fox's was twice the size.

Having learned about this Canadian hero at school, my girls are well aware of his story, and the proceeds from their annual lemonade stand in August went to cancer research ... all $130 of it. A few weeks later, as we stood at the actual Thunder Bay memorial (above), I told them Terry Fox himself would've been proud of their efforts ... and then promptly burst into tears myself.

Terry Fox died on June 28, 1981, nine months after cancer forced him to abandon his mission. Since that time, hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised for cancer research in his name. So he may have insisted he was an ordinary guy ... but we all know better.


John Peevers said...

Hey Harps,
I just finished checking out your blog (sounds vaguely dirty doesn't it). Way to go! I will email the link to everyone I can think of. Terrific work. I just read the Terry Fox entry and I am glad to know I am not the only one that gets a little (a lot) weepy when I think about him. Keep it up. We'll be following you around the world (virtually speaking - I'm not a stalker. . . anymore).

Nancy Harper said...

Hay Fever!
Like this one time? At band camp? I had a blogstalker? But like he was really cool? And the best thing was he didn't even know it? And I really valued his input? Cause he's really smart? And like he was my first editor? Like this one time? It was 1am and we were a bit giddy at the office? And we wrote funny headlines? Like "Sucker lady finally bites it?" Boy was it cool.

Doug & Colleen Lucas said...

Hi Nancy,

It will be great to follow your travels on your own blog. i believe you are the only person I know with a blog. Terry Fox should be an inspiritation to everyone. Going to be weird not seeing a rink in our backyard this winter but it is amazing that you are able to do this awesome trip.

Nancy Harper said...

Hey Colleen! Great to hear from you. Hey, you guys should all get the rink going together - a joint effort - you could charge admission!
Hope you're well.... see ya next year some time.

Bronny said...

Dear Travellin Mama,
As someone who once sold lemonade at the curb, and felt very fortunate to make 50c for a bag of lollies, I am very interested to hear how much a glass your daughters charged to raise such an impressive amount. Also thankyou for the Terry Fox story. As a non-Canadian it brought tears to my eyes and I am very sure you could get plenty of universal ones on the Oprah show. Keep up the stories. Very informative and amusing. I look forward to tracking your progress.
Avid fan

Nancy Harper said...

Hey bonky, you're family - you have to say nice things - but thanks anyway! Re lemonade prices: let's jack it up to inflation and donated baked goodies with sharply elevated pricetags!