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Marathon of Hope - Day 6. "One of the Biggest Missed Opportunities of my Life!"
by The Terry Fox Foundation., posted on 9:54 AM, April 17, 2015
"In 1980, I was teaching in a small community Come by Chance, near the Trans-Canada highway on the east coast of Newfoundland. Early each Monday morning, I’d leave my home town of St. John’s to go to my teaching position. While I boarded in nearby Sunnyside, I had established a relationship with a very caring family in Come by Chance, the Smiths, who looked after the “townie” many times during the weekdays.

During the week of April 12th, and probably on Wednesday or Thursday, April 15/16th, I happened to drop into Betty Gilbert’s house in Come-by-Chance. Betty was the mayor of the town and she also ran a convenience store which was attached to her house. I had stopped at the store and Betty invited me into her kitchen to meet the young man who was running across Canada. There were two young men sitting behind a counter and they were about to eat some cake. Some high school girls were there, including two of the Smith girls. I said “hi” and wished them both luck but I figured there were enough people in the room and went on my way.

It is a moment that I will regret forever for not taking more time to speak to Terry and Doug, to talk about the challenges ahead and the success that they hoped to achieve. The folly and short-sightedness of my youth...

Here is an excerpt taken from RM Vaughan’s review of Douglas Coupland’s book, “Terry”, (2005), that shows the same scene I walked in on.

“Early in Terry, Coupland uncovers a blurry snapshot of Fox visiting a family in Come By Chance, Newfoundland. The family gave Fox and his friend Doug a place to sleep and a meal, way before the national media had picked up on Fox’s journey (which, typically, it didn’t notice until he hit central Canada).

In the photo, Fox stands behind a large cake with white icing, surrounded by big-haired local girls invited from the high school to entertain the boys. Fox looks like the cat that ate the pet shop. Cake and cute chicks!”

A few days later, the Smiths received a postcard from Terry thanking them for their kindness. I am sure that postcard is a significant family heirloom!

Each year, when our school commemorates Terry’s Walk and Dream, through participating in the annual Terry Fox School Walk, I tell my story to a new generation of students, in my humble effort to connect them to what is the past for them, so that Terry’s dream is passed on for many more years, many more generations.
On September 25th, 2009, I had the privilege of meeting Terry Fox’s brother, Fred, at the St. John’s unveiling of the Historic Sites plaque marking Terry’s significant as a “Person of National Historic Significance”. I shared my story with him, as have many others in the past. It is my tribute to a person whose path I crossed, who forever changed me as a Canadian forever. In a way, I am trying to apologize for not talking to Terry more, to encourage him at the very difficult start of his Marathon of Hope. It is my way of trying to repay him for igniting a flame across this country that still burns brightly as his dream lives on. As the inscription on the plaque at Mile 0 in St. John’s reads, “This is the place where a young man's dream began and a nation's hope lives on”.

Andrea Cook
Principal of Cowan Heights Elementary
St. John’s, Newfoundland
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    Marathon of Hope - Day 5. "The Biggest Deal of my Life"
    by The Terry Fox Foundation, posted on 7:53 AM, April 16, 2015
    Bellevue, Nfld. Wayne Bruce:
    “Twice a day for five years we rode the school bus. It was a grey day and there was this guy running on the side of the highway. Somebody said, ‘Look, that’s the guy that was on the news.’ We were young teenagers from Grade 7 to 12. Everybody jumped to the side of the bus, hanging out the window calling to him, like so many scenes from a movie. It wasn’t until he got outside of Newfoundland we realized this guy is famous. Later when Terry stopped his run, we felt pretty good we were there at the beginning. My parents, who have passed away, both talked about the day President Kennedy was shot. That was the biggest deal of their lifetime. I’m 42, seeing Terry Fox has been the biggest deal of mine.”

    Wayne Bruce - Wesleyville, NL

    Bruce is now a bank manager in Wesleyville, Nfld.
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      Marathon of Hope - Day 5. "The Biggest Deal of my Life"
      by The Terry Fox Foundation, posted on 7:52 AM, April 16, 2015
      Bellevue, Nfld. Wayne Bruce:
      “Twice a day for five years we rode the school bus. It was a grey day and there was this guy running on the side of the highway. Somebody said, ‘Look, that’s the guy that was on the news.’ We were young teenagers from Grade 7 to 12. Everybody jumped to the side of the bus, hanging out the window calling to him, like so many scenes from a movie. It wasn’t until he got outside of Newfoundland we realized this guy is famous. Later when Terry stopped his run, we felt pretty good we were there at the beginning. My parents, who have passed away, both talked about the day President Kennedy was shot. That was the biggest deal of their lifetime. I’m 42, seeing Terry Fox has been the biggest deal of mine.”

      Wayne Bruce - Wesleyville, NL

      Bruce is now a bank manager in Wesleyville, Nfld.
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        Marathon of Hope: Day 3
        by The Terry Fox Foundation, posted on 10:25 AM, April 14, 2015
        April 13th - From Leslie’s Book: “His Story”

        “Terry began to understand the audacity of that dream and the punishing price of achievement. He started running at 4:30am. Later in the day he was buffeted by 40m/hr winds which tore through his white jacket and 3 layers of shirts. He told his diary “It knocked me off the road and almost on my butt”. The sores on his stump started hurting. His heart began to flutter dangerously. He rested, wrapped in a blanket. By mid afternoon he had run 20 miles. It was the toughest 20 miles he had every run but always striving to do better he told himself if not for the vicious wind that blew across the frozen lakes onto the highway he’d have run 30 miles…”

        The image blow is the same stretch of highway, but on a fair summer day. Very likely the road sign that Terry used as a marker to signify the end of this ‘toughest 20 miles he’d ever run’.
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          April 12th 1980 Reflection
          by The Terry Fox Foundation, posted on 7:08 AM, April 12, 2015
          April 12th 1980 Reflection – Bea Courtney – VP of Signal Hill Jaycees who welcomed Terry and Doug at the airport and were by his side at the start of the MOH:

          "I was at the St. John’s, Newfoundland waterfront when Terry began his journey. I remember so many things about that day – the quiet preparations Terry made to dip his foot in the Atlantic Ocean while facing west towards the Pacific, the small group of supporters who ran with Terry the first mile or so to City Hall, and the cold foggy April weather. The most powerful memory for me was when Terry removed his sweatpants and I saw for the first time his prosthetic leg and then his hop/skip step as he began the run. It was then that I realized the enormity of the task and journey he had set for himself. My final memory of the day was Terry running alone out the highway, with Doug Alward following close behind in the van. Such a simple – but powerful - scene of a young, optimistic boy with a goal and his friend along to help."
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