TORONTO – Last April 12th, 2010 our family attended a ceremony in St John’s Newfoundland, the place where Terry started his Marathon of Hope with so much optimism and excitement 30 years ago.
That day we celebrated Terry’s vision, his enormous capacity for caring, and his strong belief that one person could make a difference. We must tell you honestly that today’s date , September 1st, which marks the day that Terry was forced to stop his run due to a return of cancer, is a bittersweet one for our family. It is a difficult reminder of that day, 30 years ago, when we received the news that shattered our lives. We never wanted to think that Terry would not finish his run, nor did we ever want to imagine that it would be cancer that stopped him from reaching his goal. It was heartbreaking for us to realize that Terry would never finish his Marathon of Hope.
However, as we look back over the past 30 years, we have come to realize something very important. September 1st, 1980 was not the beginning of the end; instead, we see it as the end of the beginning, a beginning that has since spanned three decades and brought great progress in the field of cancer research and great hope to many people’s lives. Our family lost our son and brother but we have derived great comfort in knowing that Canada and the world gained a symbol of hope and courage. It never ceases to amaze us when we hear how Terry changed people’s lives. We still miss him every day but somehow it helps to know that millions of others do too.
And so today, we pay tribute to Terry: his passion, his commitment, and his courage. But we also pay tribute to all those who take inspiration from Terry and care enough to follow in his footsteps. We are marking the 30th Anniversary of The Terry Fox Run, a milestone unimaginable without the support of so many people, not only in Canada but also in more than 40 countries around the world. An incredible $553 million has been raised for cancer research and been put to great use by our talented scientists and researchers. There is still so much to be done yet we must always celebrate our victories – of which there have been many.
Terry’s dream did not die with him in 1981. His dream lives on in the lives of every Terry Fox Organizer, volunteer, participant, donor, researcher and scientist who have taken up his cause of finding a cure for cancer. What Terry could not finish is now ours to finish. He left his Marathon of Hope in the hands of Canadians so that they could make it their own and ensure that it thrived. And they have done that magnificently.
And so we still rejoice in what Terry started on April 12th, 1980. We wish to finish by quoting Dorothy Wyatt, who was the Mayor in St John’s when Terry started his epic journey. She says that it was not in Terry’s dying that he achieved his purpose – it was in his living.
Thank you so much.
Betty and Rolly Fox