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Terry Fox

How Terry Fox’s Legacy Has Lasted All These Years

September 19, 2017

This passed weekend, people from all over the country put on their running shoes and went for a run in memory of Terry Fox. This has been a national tradition for years and a way of honouring a great fellow Canadian who made an immeasurable impact.

In 1980, Fox, after losing his right leg to cancer, embarked on a cross-country trek to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Starting in the east coast, Fox made it 5,373 kilometres in 143 days before his cancer forced him to abandon his goal in Thunder Bay, Ontario. His legacy has lasted ever since and there is not a Canadian of educated age that doesn’t know his name and importance. But how has Fox’s legacy remained so strong even after so long? Cancer awareness has grown so much since then with many spokespeople and recognizable faces in the movement. And yet, in many people’s minds, he is the personification of the fight against cancer.

There are some obvious qualities that Fox represented in his struggles that are immediately inspiring. His bravery and sacrifice are immense. He knew the extent of his illness and how much this endeavor would be painful and difficult for him, but he faced those fears head on and decided he wasn’t going to let cancer dictate how he ended his days. His selflessness is also clear. Yes, he had the disease and therefore had a reason for raising awareness for the research. However, he knew any results seen by his efforts wouldn’t benefit him. He elected himself as a martyr in the fight against cancer so everyone could say they know of the seriousness of the disease. And his strength, above all, was of great inspiration to so many people battling cancer.

What Fox set out to do was extraordinary. Anyone could see that. The entire country watched as he gave it all he had everyday he was on the road, and they saw how difficult it was for him. The fact that he would take this herculean task on made him seem like some sort of superhero. But for those who saw him in his journey or has seen the footage, the reality was much simpler. This was a man with a very serious disease who wants to fight. The moment Terry Fox took his first steps, he had already accomplished so much. The fact that he didn’t make it to the West Coast isn’t what’s important.

It is in his defeat that we find the importance of Terry Fox and what he did for all those fighting cancer. He gave dignity to their fight. The sad fact is that not everyone who has cancer will survive. Terry Fox showed that you don’t need to be a victim of it, no matter the outcome. In the end, he’s remembered as a fighter and inspire millions to follow his footsteps.

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