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Happy birthday to Terry Fox, who should have turned 62 today.
His story is one of the most heroic and inspiring of any human in history.
He was born July 28, 1958 in Winnipeg, Canada.
As a child he loved basketball. The problem was that as an 8th grader he was only five feet tall. In his entire eighth grade season, he played only one minute.
He didn’t quit.
He practiced every morning before school, on lunch, and into the darkness each night.
His coach told him he would be better off to take up running.
He continued to do both.
Not only did he make his high school basketball team, he was named his school’s athlete of the year.
In 1977, at age 19 he was diagnosed with osteogenic Sarcoma. The Doctors told him if he would have any chance of surviving, he would have to have his leg amputated and undergo chemotherapy. He lost his leg, and started treatments.
Still, he didn’t quit.
He took up wheelchair basketball, and practiced until his hands bled. He joined the Vancouver Cable Cars, and won two Canadian national championships.
During his treatments, he was dismayed by the low level of money devoted to cancer research and treatment. He got tired of hearing children being told they had months to live.
He didn’t quit.
He decided he would do all he could to raise money for cancer research. He would do that by running with his one good leg across Canada.
He would call it “The Marathon of Hope.” He hoped to raise one dollar for each of Canada’s 24 million people.
He started his run on April 12, 1980. He began by dipping his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean. He vowed he would end his run dipping his leg into the Pacific Ocean.
He ran an average of a marathon per day until September.
At first, hardly anyone noticed.
Canadian radio got wind of the story and started doing daily updates.
Pretty soon, large crowds and bands would be on hand to greet him as he entered towns. Everyone in Canada was pulling for him, and they started donating money.
Unfortunately, he began having chest pain and trouble breathing. The cancer spread into his lungs, and he had to stop.
Terry Fox died in 1981, just shy of his 23rd birthday.
His spirit didn’t quit.
There are annual Terry Fox “Marathons of Hope” all over the world now.
The Terry Fox foundation has raised over $700 million dollars for cancer research.
There is no telling how many lives Terry Fox saved with his courage, toughness, and determination to help save others from the pain and suffering he endured.
Today, you can find statues all over Canada dedicated to Terry Fox.
All over the world, you can find people alive because of Terry Fox.