Canada’s Greatest Hero
Since the dawn of Canadian independence nearly 150 years ago, there have been numerous heroic figures who have walked on Canadian soil. Some of these instrumental actors were political, some scientific, and others athletic, but one of these heroes who has been an outstanding source of light in times of darkness was a courageous young man named Terry Fox. In a time of immense social struggle, Terry Fox gave the people of the world the direction and guidance they needed in order to overcome all of their hardships and to believe in themselves, just like a true hero. Terry Fox was an extremely enduring and determined athlete, who could overcome almost any challenge in his way. He impressed upon the people of the world the importance of consistent, vigilant cancer research, and promoted monumental funding for this cause. Many people have received inspiration from Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope to never give up and keep fighting. Terry Fox is the greatest Canadian hero to have ever lived.
Terry Fox was a very enduring and determined athlete who could overcome almost any challenge in his way. Terry Fox ran 3,339 miles in 143 days with one real leg and one prosthetic leg1. An average Olympic marathon is approximately 26 miles long and all of the participating athletes train for years before they compete. Also, these marathons are always during the summertime, when the weather is pleasant and warm. On the other hand, Terry Fox ran almost 23 miles every day for 143 days1! During his Marathon of Hope, Terry Fox faced three main hardships. He was running with only one real leg, he completed insufficient training for his journey, and he faced rough weather conditions. To begin, Terry Fox was running with one real leg and one prosthetic leg. The reason for the prosthetic leg is that Terry Fox had had bone cancer in his right leg, and that leg had to be amputated2. Meanwhile, this prosthetic leg caused him a lot of pain when he was running, forming blisters, cysts, and bleeding3. Terry Fox also trained for only one year before starting his Marathon of Hope, beginning in February 1979 until the first day of his cross-country trek on April 12, 19804. Along the Marathon of Hope, there were many days when Terry faced cold, bitter weather, including rain and sleet. Despite all the challenges that he overcame along the course of his journey, Terry Fox could not defeat one last obstacle. Near the end of his Marathon of Hope, Terry Fox often felt a pain in his lungs. Most of the time he shrugged it off, and kept going, but on Labour Day, September 1, 1980, he felt a dull, blunt pain in his chest that would not go away so he asked his friend, Doug Alward, to take him to a hospital. He later found out that he had lung cancer5. In 1980, Terry Fox was awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s greatest sportsman of the year6. Since its creation in 1936, this annual award is given to a Canadian who has achieved an outstanding athletic accomplishment. It has been bestowed upon many Canadian sports icons, including Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby, and Christine Sinclair. On December 18, 1980, Terry Fox was awarded this prestigious honour for his Marathon of Hope, and he was the first athlete to receive this award without being part of an individual or team sport7. In December 1990, The Sports Network, or TSN, named Terry Fox as the International Athlete of the Decade8. This is one of the most prestigious international athletic awards in the history of sports. The nominees for this award for the 1980s had some very famous superstars from different sports and nationalities. These nominees included Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, and Jerry Rice, from both Canada and the United States, but the winner was Terry Fox9. He was given this award for his outstanding display of endurance and dedication throughout his Marathon of Hope. To outmatch some of the greatest ice hockey, basketball, and football players of all time...
Cited: Coupland, Douglas. Terry. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2005.
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