Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Professional Cycling For the Fans
Reload this Page >

Something true and good

Notices
Professional Cycling For the Fans Follow the Tour de France,the Giro de Italia, the Spring Classics, or other professional cycling races? Here's your home...

Something true and good

Old 10-23-12, 12:40 PM
  #1  
Resident Alien
Thread Starter
 
Racer Ex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Location, location.
Posts: 13,089
Likes: 0
Liked 10 Times in 6 Posts
Something true and good

He stopped running at Thunder Bay having passed, ironically, through Marathon a few days before. He could no longer breathe, his vision was blurred, and the aspirin could no longer dull the pain. At the hospital he was given the bad news; his cancer had returned.

In 1977, the year my mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor, Terry Fox woke up to find his leg gone. He had a rare type of cancer, osteosarcoma. It had started in his knee and to try to prevent its spread they took his leg. Even with the surgery his odds were only 50/50 that he would survive long.

He did his rehab. A few years passed. Cancer took my mom. Terry thought about the people he had met at the hospital, others with cancer. He read that research for cancer was underfunded so he did what most 21 year-olds might do in such a situation. On April 12th, 1980, at the most eastern point in Canada, he dipped his artificial leg in the Atlantic Ocean and began running a marathon.

Every day. For the next 143 days and 3,339 miles.

The goal was simple: run across Canada and raise money for cancer research.

There was no high tech robotic limb of today to replace his missing leg. The hinge was replaced with a rust proof one but otherwise it was standard issue, more a “contraption” than anything else. His running style wasn’t elegant, more of a skip and a hop. When critics said it wasn’t really running his answer was simply “this is the best I can do”. There was no fancy entourage, just a van driven by a high school friend, and a vehicle for the cancer society volunteer with a cardboard sign that said “donations accepted here”. He wore a cheesy 80’s T-Shirt with cheap iron-on letters:

“Marathon of Hope”

He ran through snow, wind, and rain. Eastern Canada in April isn’t a tropical paradise. Cars would run him off the road. His stump would bleed. Response was light. He wanted to raise a dollar from everybody in Canada for cancer research. Weeks in he had barely raised a dollar from everyone in Moose Crossing, Yukon.

Fate is funny. A year after Terry’s leg was removed a man named Isadore Sharp lost his son to melanoma. Isadore Sharp owned the Four Seasons hotel chain. He heard about Terry and spread the word and made sure Terry at least no longer slept in the van.

Watching Terry run 26 miles every day on one good leg resonated. Soon crowds were coming out to greet him. Coffee shops in small towns would empty to cheer him as he came through. Small kids would run alongside and hand him coins from their piggy banks. People would stuff bills into the plastic donation bag. But better still businesses would drop checks, sometimes quite large into the pile of change and bills.


He started getting requests. “Can you run through here and give a talk? We think we can raise some money”. So he made a detour. And kept making detours. He ran through his 22nd birthday. Then he took a day off. It was to swim with a 10 year old, one legged kid who also suffered from osteosarcoma. When talking about the swim the guy who had run 26 miles every day for months on one leg and a few aspirins, the guy with osteosarcoma himself broke down and cried.

26 miles, every day. Running a marathon every day is hard. He was human. He could get angry. He could get grumpy. He sure wasn’t Superman. It took him over ten minutes to run each of those miles. When he came down with tendonitis and had to be flown to a hospital he missed two more days, but only because his friend fibbed and told him the flight back was cancelled because of weather. His friend, Doug Alward who drove behind him every day for 143 days, said this was the only time he ever lied to Terry.

Terry kept running. By now most of Canada was watching. People would have maps in their homes and every day would mark where he ran. They didn’t care that he wasn’t Superman. He was a darn tough kid. Companies wanted him to endorse their products. He refused. All money was to go to the Cancer Society. A company donated T-shirts that looked a little more professional. They still read “Marathon of Hope” but the iron-on message was now silk screened.

The crowds got bigger. Pass the hat, thank the folks for coming. Meet Bobby Orr. Visit with the Prime Minister. Open the CFL season. Then run some more.

Then he stopped because he couldn’t run anymore.

Less than a year later he was gone. While he was in the hospital getting chemo he realized he had no money to buy his mom a Christmas present. His brother gave him a few dollars and Terry bought her a wastepaper basket. It was a nice basket.

His Dad said he thought it was Terry’s honesty that brought people out. When he told his Mom about his plan she asked why he didn’t just run across British Columbia.

“Because it’s not just people in BC that get cancer”.

A bit after his funeral the CBC did a Terry Fox telethon. They raised $10 million. Added to the other donations the total came in at $23 million, nearly a dollar from every Canadian. Today that figure is $600 million, about $20 from every Canuck. It’s all gone to research, like Terry wanted.

I wrote this piece with a heavy dose of Lance fatigue. For me Terry's story was a nice offset to dealing with "what good outweighs what evil" conversations. That we have to pit cancer against utterly reprehensible behavior in some civil-war like conversation is quite sad indeed. Terry's a reminder that there are true and good things.
Racer Ex is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 12:55 PM
  #2  
SLJ 6/8/65-5/2/07
 
Walter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: SE Florida, USA aka the Treasure Coast
Posts: 5,399
Liked 20 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by Racer Ex
... .That we have to pit cancer against utterly reprehensible behavior in some civil-war like conversation is quite sad indeed. Terry's a reminder that there are true and good things.
Very true. I had not heard this story before but am glad I read it.
__________________
“Life is not one damned thing after another. Life is one damned thing over and over.”
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Walter is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 12:55 PM
  #3  
coffee-stained punk
 
hammy56's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 6,632
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
like.
hammy56 is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 01:16 PM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
shovelhd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Western MA
Posts: 15,669

Bikes: Yes

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Very well written, Ex. I remember Terry's story. It moved me then and now.
shovelhd is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 01:24 PM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
tagaproject6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 8,550

Bikes: Wilier Izoard XP (Record);Cinelli Xperience (Force);Specialized Allez (Rival);Bianchi Via Nirone 7 (Centaur); Colnago AC-R Disc;Colnago V1r Limited Edition;De Rosa King 3 Limited(Force 22);DeRosa Merak(Red):Pinarello Dogma 65.1 Hydro(Di2)

Liked 278 Times in 146 Posts
tagaproject6 is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 01:47 PM
  #6  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 151
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
+1.
Gordy748 is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 02:17 PM
  #7  
I need speed
 
AzTallRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 5,550

Bikes: Giant Propel, Cervelo P2

Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanks Ex...
AzTallRider is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 02:17 PM
  #8  
out walking the earth
 
gsteinb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Lake Placid, NY
Posts: 21,441
Liked 752 Times in 342 Posts
'like'
gsteinb is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 02:20 PM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
JohnKScott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Franklin, TN
Posts: 3,385

Bikes: It has two wheels

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
like
JohnKScott is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 02:27 PM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
Jed19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,224
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Thank you for that moving story. I also lost my mom to cancer, and it was the most frightening thing I've ever encountered in my life, to watch a kinda superwoman just reduced to a shell of herself.

That is why I have donated to Livestrong in the past, regardless of how I felt/feel about LA.
Jed19 is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 02:58 PM
  #11  
Scarlet Knight
 
RUOkie's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: In a Haggard Song
Posts: 11,271

Bikes: 2009 ORBEA Onix Rival. 2012 Felt Breed, 1999 Raleigh 500

Liked 14 Times in 4 Posts
Thanks Racer Ex.

That is beautifully written and brought a tear to my eye (which is pretty hard to do to me)
RUOkie is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 03:15 PM
  #12  
Junior Member
 
nevermore1701's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: honolulu,hawaii
Posts: 168

Bikes: giant

Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
i remember seeing Terry Fox on the news alot when i was a kid. an excellent story
nevermore1701 is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 03:21 PM
  #13  
shaken, not stirred.
 
gnome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: The Shaky Isles.
Posts: 5,271

Bikes: I've lost count.

Liked 1,022 Times in 404 Posts
thanks ex.
__________________
Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live. ~Mark Twain, "Taming the Bicycle"
vBulletin: snafu
gnome is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 03:25 PM
  #14  
VFL For Life
 
Velo Vol's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 52,033

Bikes: Velo Volmobile

Liked 2,000 Times in 1,409 Posts
Velo Vol is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 03:32 PM
  #15  
Idiot Emeritus
 
sarals's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: 60 Miles South of Hellyer
Posts: 6,744

Bikes: Yes.

Liked 13 Times in 4 Posts
Ex, that was very, very moving. Thank you....
__________________
"Can you add a signature line please? The lack of words makes me think you are being held hostage and being told to be quiet"
sarals is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 03:49 PM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
sbxx1985's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Colorado
Posts: 12,942
Liked 282 Times in 158 Posts
Well done.
sbxx1985 is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 04:15 PM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Burnaby, BC
Posts: 4,144
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
We have a statue of him here. Schools named after him, various events, etc.

A figure worthy of recognition.
Commodus is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 04:28 PM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
mvnsnd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: WNY
Posts: 3,101

Bikes: Factor O2, Caad10, Caad2

Liked 123 Times in 79 Posts
Originally Posted by sarals
Ex, that was very, very moving. Thank you....
+1
mvnsnd is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 05:06 PM
  #19  
Cardiac Case
 
Drag's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Dropped... about 5 miles back...
Posts: 2,893

Bikes: Trek, Cannondale, Litespeed, Lynskey

Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
This is good. Thank you.
__________________
TITANIUMDIVISION
BF Great Lakes Forum
Drag is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 05:23 PM
  #20  
Peloton Shelter Dog
 
patentcad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Chester, NY
Posts: 90,508

Bikes: 2017 Scott Foil, 2016 Scott Addict SL, 2018 Santa Cruz Blur CC MTB

Liked 28 Times in 22 Posts
Correct.
__________________
https://www.cotsiscad.com
patentcad is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 05:46 PM
  #21  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 9,201
Liked 289 Times in 177 Posts
Being Canadian, I've heard that story a hundred times. Your version still choked me up. Well done.
gregf83 is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 05:50 PM
  #22  
he said member
 
ls01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: is everything
Posts: 13,802

Bikes: yes please

Liked 1,951 Times in 1,207 Posts
ls01 is offline  
Old 10-23-12, 07:51 PM
  #23  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: NZ
Posts: 3,841

Bikes: More than 1, but, less than S-1

Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Thank you for sharing that Ex,
__________________
Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.
bigfred is offline  
Old 10-25-12, 11:51 AM
  #24  
ride lots be safe
 
Creakyknees's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 5,224
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
God dammit Ex now I'm crying, you bastard.
Creakyknees is offline  
Old 10-27-12, 07:33 PM
  #25  
Don't mince words
 
Red Rider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Vacaville, CA
Posts: 6,971

Bikes: '16 BH Quartz, 2017 Calfeecustom carbon tandem, Fuji D6 TT bike

Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
This is the first I've heard this story. Well-written, Ex, thank you.

I lost my grandmother, her sister, my dad and my mom to cancer. Damn straight I donate to Livestrong, and will continue to do so.

But Terry Fox? He was some kind of awesome.
Red Rider is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.