Not far out of Thunder Bay, high on a hill with sweeping views over Lake Superior and the Sleeping Giant, sits the Terry Fox Monument. Just over 40 years ago, Terry Fox was forced to end his Marathon of Hope as the cancer he was fundraising to cure caught up with him.
He was 18 when he lost his leg to cancer and, while in hospital, was dismayed at the amount of suffering the illness caused particularly amongst the kids. So he resolved to run across Canada and raise money toward a cure. This was a new idea and well before all the 'Run for Cures' we do now. After some training, he dipped his toe in the Atlantic Ocean in St John’s, Newfoundland and commenced his run back to Victoria in BC.
On one leg and a prosthetic that was closer to a wooden stump than the fancy running legs we have today, he ran an average of marathon a day, for 143 days - 3339 MILES (5,373km) in all until he was too sick to continue. His dream was to raise a dollar for every Canadian –the huge sum of about $24 million at the time. He did achieve this prior to his death.
His legacy lives on. The Terry Fox Foundation has raised over $750 million for cancer research. The Terry Fox Run is an annual non-competitive (and non-sponsored) run held in over 40 countries.
I ran 50km in perfect conditions and vowed never to run that distance again! Terry Fox ran an average of 42km a day in all kinds of weather including snow storms and freezing rain - on a prosthetic limb...
It is seriously humbling.
The highway between Thunder Bay and Nipigon is the only road in Canada that connects east to west. It is quite fittingly named The Terry Fox Courage Highway.