Try Like Terry

Long before Terry Fox dipped his toe in the Atlantic to begin his Marathon of Hope, he had to try to learn how to walk all over again. Then he had to try to run again. First streets, then hills, and eventually, mountains. He had to go out and gather support for what seemed like a “crazy” idea, a run across Canada for cancer research. And even once he began, he had to try every day, to push past the pain, exhaustion and sometimes doubt.

Cancer may have taken a lot from Terry, but it could never take away his “try”.

“Terry Try” Moments

Terry Fox - training

September 1, 1979

Just 902 days after Terry lost his leg to cancer, he entered the 27-kilometre Prince George to Boston Marathon. It was one of Terry’s most pivotal “try” moments. Although he finished last, he proved to himself that he had the strength, stamina and heart to undertake the audacious idea that was forming in his head. Just seven months later, he dipped his foot in the Atlantic to begin his Marathon of Hope. #TryLikeTerry

Facing a gruelling uphill, 3-kilometre stretch of highway, Terry wore a shirt that read “Montreal River Here I Come” on the front and “I’ve Got You Beat” on the back.

What’s your uphill battle? #TryLikeTerry and register for the Mt. Terry Fox Trek.

Terry and Isadore Sharp with poster - Credit David Cooper

When Terry told his mom and dad that he was planning a cross country Run, Betty asked him why it couldn’t just be across BC. Terry’s answer, “because it’s not just people in BC who get cancer.” He knew that the only way he could reach his enormous fundraising goal of $1 million was to take on our huge country, one Canadian at a time. One ask at a time. One try at a time. Terry died knowing his try had touched the hearts of 24 million Canadians.

Don’t say cancer can’t be defeated. Say we have to try. Don’t say I can’t make a difference. Say I have to try. What’s your fundraising try? #TryLikeTerry

On the night before his surgery, Terry read about an amputee, Dick Traum, who had run the New York City Marathon. Ever the competitor, Terry started thinking past walking again to running long distances. This amused his best friend, Doug Alward, who recalls, “This was a guy who didn’t even like [running]. I tried to get him out for the cross-country running team, but he’d always rather play basketball. I said to him ‘Terry, I couldn’t get you to run 20 minutes on two legs, and now you want to run a marathon a day across the country?’ ” Nothing could stop Terry. His first day on the cinder track of his school he ran half a mile; seven days later he ran his first mile. “The first day I ran a mile was as great as the first day I ran 30 miles.” #TryLikeTerry

Terry wasn’t just an extraordinary marathon runner – he was an extraordinary fundraiser. When Terry told his mom and dad that he was planning a cross country Run, Betty asked him why it couldn’t just be across BC. Terry’s answer, “because it’s not just people in BC who get cancer.” He knew that the only way he could reach his enormous fundraising goal of $1 million was to take on our huge country, one Canadian at a time. One ask at a time. One try at a time. Terry died knowing his try had touched the hearts of 24 million Canadians. Don’t say cancer can’t be defeated. Say we have to try. Don’t say I can’t make a difference. Say I have to try. #TryLikeTerry

Family and friends all said the same time about Terry: he was an extraordinary competitor. Others were more talented, though few could match him for determination, toughness, and hard work. Terry’s junior high coach, Bob McGill, remembers telling him that he could stay on the basketball team, but only the best players would play. Terry showed up early to every practice and was the last to leave. In 25 games that season, he played a total of 12 minutes. After the season ended, Terry arrived at the school gym every morning at 7:30 to work on his skills. By Grade 10 Terry was in the starting lineup of the basketball team and co-captain to boot. #TryLikeTerry

Terry Corporate Giving

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“The answer is to try and help others.” – Terry Fox