Marathon of Hope
April 11, 2005 11:14 PM   Subscribe

"His life was just beginning, and he was simply a slightly nerdy, nondescript youngster sitting at a desk in Grade 8, so short his feet didn't reach the floor." but Terry Fox would go on to grab the heart of Canadians and 25 years on, the world. Also seen before.
posted by arse_hat (34 comments total)
I don't know if he does, but I notice most folks running for charity leave their trash all over the road. I guess charity runs are a free-litter pass. Must be too much to exert a few calories for charity and ALSO carry your wrappers to the next can. Life is so tough these days.
posted by HTuttle at 11:35 PM on April 11, 2005

also the first non king or queen ever featured on a Canadian coin. I was shocked to discover this evening that a cancer survivor I know from the states who might be facing another bout with that dread disease had never heard of him.

Thanks in large part to the legacy of Terry Fox, my mother's bout with breast cancer last year was dealt with quickly and routinely, within days (our Canadian medical system has it's problems, but when the chips are down, it generally comes shining through). Her doctor told her later that 10-15 years ago, it would likely have been fatal.

Thank You Terry.
posted by Loctor at 11:42 PM on April 11, 2005

HTuttle, just wanted to say you're doing a *fabu* job at the crusty curmudgeon pissing in threads vibe this evening. Hugs aplenty for your contribution to the community.
posted by mediareport at 1:02 AM on April 12, 2005

I did the Boston Terry Fox Run a few years ago. But I haven't heard about it since.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:08 AM on April 12, 2005

I grew up 5 miles from the Canadian border & graduated high school in 1980. I've never heard of him. I've lived within 10 miles of Canada for 24 years and I've never heard of him. I guess that shows how self-centered we Americans are (well, me, anyway).

Thanks to Metafilter, I can finally say I've heard of Terry Fox
posted by Doohickie at 4:39 AM on April 12, 2005

Terry Fox was a hell of a guy.

I still get choked up, and it's 25 years past.

He exemplifies "Canadian" to me.
posted by Savannah at 7:12 AM on April 12, 2005

And not only is he getting his pissing on threads vibe on, he's definitely not reading the links. Hon, Terry Fox isn't leaving his trash on the side of the road. He died. A very long time ago. But thanks for playing.

That was a great first link, hadn't gotten to it yet today. Of course now I'm crying all over my computer, being completely unable to think of Terry Fox and not just lose it.

Another interesting bit: Douglas Coupland is writing a book on Terry, and a bit of the first chapter can be found here.
posted by livii at 8:11 AM on April 12, 2005

I don't know if he does, but I notice most folks running for charity leave their trash all over the road. I guess charity runs are a free-litter pass. Must be too much to exert a few calories for charity and ALSO carry your wrappers to the next can. Life is so tough these days.
posted by HTuttle at 11:35 PM PST on April 11 [!]

Yeah, he ran a fucking marathon a day for 143 consecutive days for cancer research. On one good leg.

But yeah, fucker may have dropped a dixie here or there. christ.
posted by jikel_morten at 8:12 AM on April 12, 2005

I don't know if he does, but I notice most folks running for charity leave their trash all over the road

Who invited Tony Soprano's mother into this thread?
posted by backOfYourMind at 8:13 AM on April 12, 2005

People, if Terry could attempt to run across Canada despite the loss of one leg, we can rise above HTuttle's stupid comment and not let it ruin this thread.
posted by orange swan at 8:21 AM on April 12, 2005

Fair call, orange swan.

As a youngster, I can remember being herded into my school's 'Withdrawal Room' (which was presumably being used to assist rehabilitating heroin addicts when not full of 11-year-olds watching 'Behind the News') to see a documentary on Terry Fox.

Even as a kid I was boggled at his courage and determination.
posted by backOfYourMind at 8:35 AM on April 12, 2005

Thanks for posting this, arse_hat. I'm just old enough to remember Terry Fox's 1980 Marathon of Hope and I knew about the story, but it never gets old and there were many little tidbits in the CBC link I'd never heard (i.e., Ontario strippers donating a day's earnings - heh!)

He was just an ordinary guy, not naturally athletic, nor exceptionally intelligent, but he had enough perserverance and determination for a hundred people.
posted by orange swan at 8:38 AM on April 12, 2005

On the radio this morning, they were discussing Terry. He's from Winnipeg (Transcona to be precise) and he's never forgotten around here.

The goal of his original run was to raise one million dollars for research, and since that time, there have been Terry Fox runs in over fifty countries raising over $360,000,000 dollars.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 8:45 AM on April 12, 2005

I remember when my family got HBO. The Terry Fox Story was the first movie I watched on the television. I was too young to get that *he* was still really young when he died (22), but realized he was an amazing person. Prompted me to participate in running and bike charity fundraisers all summer long.

I remember crying when he didn't make his goal of getting across Canada.

And just because it bears repeating, he had one leg. He ran using an artificial limb that tore the hell out of his stump.
posted by nramsey at 9:07 AM on April 12, 2005

I am also just old enough to remember the Marathon of Hope, and visiting the Terry Fox Memorial just outside Thunder Bay, ON has always reminded me of what humans are capable of if they truly believe in something worthwhile.

As an aside, I'd just like to point out that there is another wonderful Canadian that has followed in Terry's footsteps and continues to work tirelessly for a cure for spinal cord injury.
posted by purephase at 9:20 AM on April 12, 2005

Rick Hansen's pretty amazing too, so thanks for linking, purephase. He's also pretty much the last guy you'd want to arm wrestle.
posted by orange swan at 9:23 AM on April 12, 2005

Yeah, he ran a fucking marathon a day for 143 consecutive days for cancer research. On one good leg.

Good on him.
Still, I wish that the people who were actually in the front lines doing, you know, cancer research for cancer research, the people actually fighting against Death, got a bit more of the pearly glow that surrounds people like Fox.

Nothing against Fox. Just, here, have some thanks, science folks.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:36 AM on April 12, 2005

Mayor Curley: Boston had a Terry Fox run a couple of years ago, I believe. All the promotional material mentioned how it was organized and paid for by a hotel chain.

Advertising sponsorship is explicitly against the rules for Terry Fox run's and events. Since the Terry Fox Foundation owns the rights to Terry's name and trademarked "marathon of hope", if you want to hold an event, you have to follow their rules:

Any expenses incurred when organizing a Run must be
donated. No monies raised by the Run itself will be used
to cover those expenses.

The charging of specific Registration Fees for participants
is against Foundation policy. Any event that uses Terry’s
name, regardless of the unique nature of that event, must
allow participants to make voluntary contributions. This
policy, in particular, epitomizes the grassroots nature of
the Run.

The Foundation accepts no monetary or other
support from those who would wish to exploit
for commercial advantage their association –
directly or indirectly – with The Terry Fox Run.

Supporters’ names will not be placed on any
promotional items where Terry’s image and the
name “The Terry Fox Run” appear.

Corporate supporters’ names and logos cannot
be listed on the pledge sheet or poster.

There can be no ranking of corporate
supporters by level, such as Platinum, Gold,
Silver, etc. as the Foundation does not wish to
differentiate according to levels of giving.

In other words, you can have corporate sponsorship, but they have to give the money without expecting to be promoted in return or in conjunction with the event. Or you can have an event, put your company's name all over it and then donate the money to the Terry Fox Foundation, as long as you don't call it a "Terry Fox Run" or "Marathon of Hope".

Apparently the hotel chain in question decided that there generosity ended with their ability to take every opportunity to put put their name beside Terry's.
posted by duck at 10:34 AM on April 12, 2005

I had a book about Terry Fox as a kid, and even now I can remember being totally amazed at his story. Thanks for the post.
posted by vorfeed at 10:52 AM on April 12, 2005

I think Fox changed the way Canadians see themselves in the world. He was this huge hero at the time, and then he died right in the middle of his quest.

The hero wasn't suppose to die, but he did. It flew in the face of everything we were taught was suppose to happen on a mythic level. I can't help but think this has had something to do with the development of our national identity.
posted by Rusty Iron at 10:54 AM on April 12, 2005

Rusty: I often wonder if he would be as reveared as he is if he hadn't died. If he had finally dipped his foot in the Pacific and then gone on with his life would he have been all but forgotten in a few years (like Rick Hansen) or worse been pushed off the pedestal and dragged through the mud when his life took an all-too-human turn (a failed marriage, a drunken incident or whatever)?
posted by duck at 11:03 AM on April 12, 2005

I don't think Rick Hansen is "all but forgotten", duck. Most people know who he is. I do think dying so young and with his Marathon of Hope only half finished has made Terry the more famous of the two - but that's because Terry's death was tragic and because the dead can be eulogized and summed up and idealized. That's the way we do it, for some reason - the dead get the lion's share of the laurels.
posted by orange swan at 11:31 AM on April 12, 2005

Rick Hansen is far from forgotten, but, sadly, Steve Fonyo pretty much has been forgotten.

Inspired by Terry and also having lost a leg for cancer, he set out to complete Terry's run and succeeded. Sadly, he had some demons to battle and was never as popular a figure, even during his run.

Can't find it right now, but iirc, Steve Fonyo was from Edmonton, so that makes a pretty damned impressive group of Western Canadians. Our standards are higher here, I guess.
posted by Loctor at 12:55 PM on April 12, 2005

Just to be clear: I by no means meant to imply that Terry Fox was overrated, but only that he might have been underrated if he had not died.
posted by duck at 1:00 PM on April 12, 2005

I lived in Brazil one year, and was pleasantly surprised to find that Terry Fox runs are a pretty big thing there. Terry's legacy has global appeal, even for people who don't feel it quite the same way that Canadians do.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:30 PM on April 12, 2005

ROU_Xenophobe ...Just, here, have some thanks, science folks.

We appreciate your sentiments, ROU, but most of us like the cash better...
posted by PurplePorpoise at 5:02 PM on April 12, 2005

Then work harder and get yourself one of them Nobel prizes I hear so much about. At least you work in a field that's eligible.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:46 PM on April 12, 2005

Steve Fonyo is not remembered for good reason: he turned out to be an awful jerk.

Rick Hansen is well-remembered for good reason: his attitudes and behaviours are ones we all wish to develop in ourselves.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:38 PM on April 12, 2005

ROu_Xenophobe - we *all* work hard (well, most of *all*).

Too bad billionaires are into sports more than they are into science - hell, I'd give up my chances for winning a nobel in exchange for playing for a losing team because some billionaire wants *his* team to have the most papers in Nature/Science for 2005.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 9:26 PM on April 12, 2005

[foghorn]That was a joke, son. A gag. A flag-waver. You're built too low, son. I keep pitchin' em and you keep missin' em.

Nice porpoise, but about as sharp as a sack of wet mice.[/leghorn]
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:37 PM on April 12, 2005

No no, see here son. But what's good with having a Cap'n Nob'l prize super-secret-pin stick'n on your chest when it'll just stick in your, I say, your chest, son? It makes no sense, see, to shed blood to show that, you see, shed blood.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 12:03 AM on April 13, 2005

ROU - nevermind - me bitter, &c - I'm bowing out - you win by default. But seriously, a lot of research that makes the news is a result of people who don't care one whit about the people that do the actual research - politics pays faaaar more than cleverness.

Now I wonder how I can change this situation. Since I'm a pessimist, I'll just go back to drinking myself to death.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 12:17 AM on April 13, 2005

Thank you for posting this
posted by ruelle at 4:30 AM on April 13, 2005

I work at Foreign Affairs Canada, and we are always getting updates from our overseas Embassies and High Commissions about Terry Fox run's being held. (just searching the archive brings up Guangzhou, Hanoi, Islamabad, Ankara, Brussels, Bogata to name a few)

I think it's amazing what Fox's legacy has come to. Considering that in the first few weeks of his run he was being met by such small numbers of peope you could count them on one hand.
posted by smcniven at 5:32 AM on April 13, 2005

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