My notion of cancer’s impact was far more vague in the summer of 2012 when I received an email from my friend Dom Hanlon. He was drumming up support for another Terry Fox Run. But this was no ordinary fundraising appeal. It read more like a treatise on heroism, and it moved me to donate for the first time. Since cancer took my Dad swiftly in the Fall of 2012, the words carry even greater weight. This will be the third year I run. Join us and read Dom’s piece below, revised for the 2016 event – Chris LePan
I hope everyone is having a great summer. September is here and so I wanted to touch base with everyone about this year’s Terry Fox Run.
This summer has seen a few “super hero” movies be released. Like a lot of people I know, I was excited for the new Captain America movie and it did not disappoint. After watching such movies, I got to thinking: Why are we attracted so strongly to super hero stories? It’s like we have this inherent need to witness someone fighting evil, against all odds, from a place of moral purity. Throw in some super human feats and you’ve got the basis of pretty much every main stream comic book hero. And we all love when the good guy wins.
It got me comparing these stories to Terry Fox. In my opinion and in all seriousness his is the greatest super hero story. Think about what we want out of our super heroes. They have to be humble, good natured, committed, fight for the people, selfless, and capable of things the average person is not. Terry came from a working class family and never wanted what he did to be about him. He was willing to die for what he believed in: that no person should have to suffer through cancer. In addition to all this, he did things that were actually refuted as physically impossible: 150 consecutive marathons, rain or shine, on one leg. Super human, indeed. Don’t think so? Try running one marathon on two legs.
Every super hero needs a super villain. Cancer killed about 8.2 million people worldwide in 2012, according to the World Health Organization. It does not discriminate between sex, race, social status, intelligence or age. It tortures its victims with excruciating pain. It costs a fortune to treat. It takes children from their parents, parents from their children, spouses from each other, brothers, sisters, friends. Can you think of a more deserving villain to fight against?
There is one other thing that every hero story needs: doubt that the hero can succeed against such great odds and such a formidable opponent. On September 1, 1980, Terry had to stop his run just outside of Thunder Bay due to the return of cancer in his body. He never finished his run and died the next year without returning to finish what he started.
But this is the greatest part of the Terry Fox story: although it looked as though he had been defeated, he did not lose. His fight was to unite all of us in the battle against cancer. And this is OUR chance to join him in this battle: through his Foundation and annual run, WE can raise millions of dollars for Cancer research and treatment. WE get to celebrate a true, real life hero and continue his battle.
On Sunday, September 18, please join me to run, bike or walk in this year’s Terry Fox Run. If you can’t participate, please find some money to donate. It would be nice if everyone donated at least the price of a Hollywood movie, but even if it’s just $1, every bit counts. Seriously. Click here to support the cause – Dominic Hanlon