Thursday, February 24, 2011

running with Terry Fox

I didn’t know anything about who Terry Fox is and what his story is about until two years ago.
Flyers and banners piqued my curiosity and thus I searched the net for information about Terry Fox and the ‘Marathon of Hope’.
This is what I learned:

- Terry Fox born July 28 1958 is a Canadian born humanitarian, athlete and cancer research activist
- In 1977 he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma which eventually led to his right leg being amputated
- In 1980, he began the Marathon of Hope – a cross-country run in an effort to raise money for cancer research
- Because of his illness, he had to end his quest after 143 days and 5,373 kilometers
- Though his hope of overcoming the disease and completing his marathon ended when he died in 1981, his legacy continues
- In 1981 the first Terry Fox Run was held
- Held annually, the run has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries
- The Terry Fox Run is now the world’s largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research
- The Abu Dhabi Terry Fox Run was first held in 1995, and has been organized annually since

Having lost relatives to cancer, I decided to do my bit and participate in this years’ event. And so while everybody else was sleeping, I got up, put on my running shoes and headed out to register. The start-off point at the Abu Dhabi corniche had a cheerful and energetic vibe with lively music provided by the Terry Fox Run DJ who hails from the Philippines. Participants are greeted warmly my volunteers manning the booths where people smiled at each other not minding standing a few minutes in queue to register, make their donations or buy commemorative T-shirts.

The program started with various entertaining activities including music by the Abu Dhabi Police Band and Bohra Community Drumming Band, the presentment of donations and grants followed by a 15 minute aerobic warm-up session which elevated the participants’ energy level.

It was a beautiful day for a run. The 8.5 kilometers didn’t seem that long a run when you have a purpose – a goal. It also helped that there are volunteers cheering you on, giving out bottles of water and words of encouragement. The self satisfaction of completing the run is a small consolation in contrast to knowing that you have contributed however small a part in the worldwide effort to find a cure for cancer. The ‘Marathon of Hope’ truly never ends, here is hoping for the continued success of the Terry Fox Run and finally finding a cure for cancer.

* information from wikipedia

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