I was just a young teenage girl in Canada when Terry Fox dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean and began his Marathon of Hope. Soon, I, along with the rest of Canada, would wait for updates about Terry and his run daily on the evening news and in the newspapers. Terry Fox quickly became my hero. We all need heroes in our lives, and I couldn’t have found a better one!
Fast forward to the age of 31 and my diagnosis of cancer – I sure needed the influence of Terry Fox then! Facing your own mortality at a relatively young age is life-changing. You have to do things you never thought you could. You just need to take it one step at a time, just like Terry did – one mile at a time, as he was running across the country. I thought of Terry Fox often during those days – he helped me through it all.
After my recovery, I wanted to be closer to my family and chose to move to Orillia. I lived there for a while and felt very lucky to be alive and healthy, so I decided to look for somewhere to help, to volunteer my time. Although I looked into a few options, nothing really fit. Then I came across a newspaper article that was headed “Cancer survivor needs fighters” or something to that effect. I felt it was written for me.
Linda Shepherd needed MY help to organize the Terry Fox Run! I, along with my long-time friend Carrie, attended the meeting advertised in the article. Within five minutes of our arrival we had joined the committee and been assigned a major responsibility. Just a few days later I found myself squeezing into a small car with four other Terry Foxers on the way to the annual workshop. And what a day it was! I got to meet Betty Fox, Terry’s mother, and felt even more honoured to be contributing to the fight against cancer.
As a cancer survivor I know the importance of supporting cancer research – it’s the reason I’m still here today! I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with some wonderful people every day, working toward the dream of my hero, Terry Fox.