Stories of Hope

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“Getting” Terry

– I’ve lived in Canada since 2007, but my first visit here from England was in the summer of 1980. I was here as a 15-year-old, on vacation with my parents and staying with family in Kitchener, ON. I don’t remember much about that visit, but I do recall seeing a one-legged man on TV, running with an unusual technique, and a catchy “Run, Terry, Run” jingle in the background. I had no idea what this was all about and didn’t pay too much attention. Heading back home after my vacation, I never thought about Terry again. As you’d expect, Terry Fox isn’t part of the culture in the U.K. the way he is in Canada.

Fast forward to 2010, and after living in New Hamburg a few years I started noticing in the local newspaper that there was a Terry Fox Run in town. I remembered his name, so I decided to take part. I raised some money for the cause and got to know the Run’s organizer. I offered to join the small committee the following year. I volunteered for a couple of years, helping out here and there when needed.

In 2013, when the organizer said it was time for him to step down, I offered to take over, with my wife – Cheryl – lending her much-needed managerial skills. Even then I didn’t really “get” Terry; I just thought of the Run as another community event amongst many in our town. However, the more I learned about Terry the person – his vision, his drive and his unique ability to inspire others – the more passionate I became about honouring his memory at our local Run.

By 2015, I finally got it. I understood what Terry means to people and why millions of his fellow Canadians feel compelled to follow his example so enthusiastically, year after year. Now, Terry means as much to me as he does to everyone else in Canada.

Nigel Gordijk

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