Inspirational Cancer Patient: The One-Legged Runner Who Ran Three Thousand Miles

Terry Fox was an athlete with an extraordinary motivation and spirit. At a very young age, one of his legs was amputated due to cancer. Despite this misfortune, in 1980, he ran across Canada in the Marathon of Hope in an attempt to raise $1 million for cancer research. Imagine running with a prosthetic leg, under difficult terrains and harsh weather conditions! But despite these difficulties, Terry Fox remained determined to complete the marathon. These difficulties also did not become a hurdle to Terry’s mission, as he extended his fundraising goal to $22 million. Finally, he succeeded in this noble mission and ended the Marathon of Hope near Thunder Bay, but the cancer proved a formidable foe that consumed his life; Terry passed away because the cancer has spread to the lungs as he ran an intense 24 miles per day.

The story of how Terry Fox started running is something directly out of a mythical book. In 1977, the 21-year-old Terry Fox found out that he has a life-threatening tumor in his leg and if not amputated, it would kill him very soon. He decided to go for treatment and agreed to have his leg amputated. At the very night of his amputation, he read about a runner who ran a long distanced run despite having his leg amputated. Since then, he decided emulate such a noble dream by going on a marathon himself. Such was the dream that served as a seed, which turned out to be a giant tree of hope for humanity.

Terry, after getting well enough to stand and move about, started a run which he called the Marathon of Hope. He ran over 5 thousand kilometers in merely 143 days. When he was asked why he chose to run and what kept him running, he gave a very simple yet profound answer by saying, “I’m not a dreamer, and I’m not saying this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer, but I believe in miracles. I have to.”

Terry’s dream was to raise $1 from each Canadian citizen, and with a population of around 24 million people in Canada, Terry was able to succeed. Terry passed away a while before his 23rd birthday, but he left behind a legacy of massive proportions. The Terry Fox Run and fundraising event continued ever since his death and as at 2014, the foundation has raised around $650 million for cancer research. Such is the fate of a dream made possible.

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