Friday, September 02, 2005



A few days ago, Nancy was talking about heroes. As the scenario in Louisiana and Mississippi gets increasingly nightmarish, I think we need to be reminded that there are genuine heroes in the world.

Every Canadian knows the story of Terry Fox, but I often wonder if he is the same cultural icon to our cousins in the States. Are you familiar with his story? It is the definition of tenacity, and of heroism. Terry Fox is just a guy, a young guy, who lost his right leg to cancer. He wanted to raise funds and awareness for the Canadian Cancer Society, so he set off to run across Canada, from St John’s, Newfoundland to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1980. I was ten years old, and Terry Fox was my first hero.

I’m thinking of Terry Fox today because it was 25 years ago yesterday that he had to stop running near Thunder Bay, only half way through his journey at a spectacular 5,565 km, because his cancer had returned. To mark the occasion, yesterday Adidas released 6,500 pairs of a special edition replica of the trainers he used – he went through nine of them, one for his prosthetic foot and eight for his real foot – and they sold out in a day. A day.

Terry Fox was 22 years old, and he ran the equivalent of a marathon every single day for 143 days. The shoes he wore in 1980 didn’t have custom gel supports or cushioned soles of today’s trainers; they were just plain nylon runners, in navy blue with the trademark three white stripes.

To paraphrase many quoted in the Citizen article I read this morning, you could buy these shoes, but you could never fill them. But we should try.

It’s been a long week.