March 26, 2017
In my new book, No Barriers, I write about the pioneers who helped me illuminate the map of a No Barriers Life, and Terry Fox was the beginning of it all. Excerpt from No Barriers:
“Before the last traces of my eyesight were gone, I was watching TV. I could barely see out of my right eye, having to put my face so close to the screen, I could feel static electricity crackling on my nose. The show was featuring the story of a Canadian named Terry Fox. At nineteen years old, he lost a leg to cancer. In the hospital, he watched children even younger than him succumbing to disease, and their deaths were a searing pain, sharper than the saw that had taken his leg. After witnessing all that death and suffering, it should have reduced him. As he contemplated his own mortality, he was supposed to retreat, curl into a ball, and protect the precious little he had left. Who would have blamed him? Yet instead, Terry did the exact opposite. He made the astonishing decision to run, and not just for a day, or a week, but from one shore to another, through every province, across the entire country of Canada.
. . . After running an average of 26 miles a day for over four months and 3,339 miles through six provinces, Terry was forced to stop his run. Cancer had invaded his lungs, causing him to cough and gasp for air as he ran. Terry cried as he told the crowd that he wouldn’t be able to finish, but through his tears he said, “I’ll fight. I promise I won’t give up.”
Terry Fox died seven months later. It wasn’t fair. He’d only gotten 22 years on Earth. But in that short window, he had made a decision to run, and that decision had elevated an entire nation. Instead of shrinking away, Terry had gotten bigger. He had lived more than he had died.
I knew that my blindness was coming. It was a hard fact, and nothing I did would prevent it. As Terry’s story concluded, I knelt with the tears pouring down my face. I yearned for that kind of courage, and I dared to hope Terry’s light existed in me."