The power of courage, Terry Fox

This article is an excerpt from


In previous chapters, we have seen outstanding human beings: Sadako Sasaki, Oseola McCarty, Evoni Williams, and Corey Fleischer, all people whose actions had a positive influence on others. The Oneness Movement is about unity, harmony, peace, justice, equality, and so on, but the most important aspect of all is to recognize the gems among us. Facing the challenges of life as we all do, they rise above the ordinary. What Terry Fox has done is another demonstration of superb human qualities. His life gives us encouragement to discover the nobility enshrined in all of us.

Terry Fox, a Canadian suffering from bone cancer, embarked upon a unique challenge: On April 12th, 1980, he began his “Marathon of Hope” by dipping his artificial foot into the Atlantic Ocean. With one strong leg and one prosthetic limb limping along the way, he aimed to cross the vast continent of North America from coast to coast to raise twenty-four million dollars. On average, he walked about forty-eight kilometers a day. His brother, who accompanied him, was astounded by Terry’s determination. Terry was in constant pain, yet he kept moving forward, propelled by his spirit of hope and faith in finding the cure for cancer. After 5,373 kilometers, halfway through his journey, the cancer spread to his lungs, cutting short his life and his goal. His spirit, however, stayed forever. 

Today, his heroic perseverance is commemorated through numerous awards, research grants, and an annual fund-raising run held in sixty countries in his name. His short life, filled with sacrifice, courage, and a positive attitude was an inspiration to millions. With love for others and faith in himself, he started a journey of hope. Terry Fox recreated himself, transforming a man with a fatal disease into a vision of hope for others.

Terry Fox is a great example of how, when moved by the spirit, even physical pain and suffering cannot prevent us from extraordinary achievement. Actions speak louder than words.

When asked why he wanted to raise money for research, he said, “There were feelings of hopeful denial, and the feelings of despair. My quest would not be a selfish one. I could not leave knowing these faces and feelings would still exist, even though I would be set free from mine. Somewhere the hurting must stop … and I was determined to take myself to the limit for this cause.”

In September 2013, Dr. Jay Wunder, a sarcoma specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, noted that survival rates for osteosarcoma have increased dramatically since Fox’s death. Most patients “get limb-sparing or limb-reconstructive surgery. Now the cure rate’s almost up to 80 percent in younger patients. In older patients it’s more like 70 percent … So that’s a pretty big turnaround in a couple of decades.” These advances in treatment might be partly attributable to funds raised by the Terry Fox Foundation. As of January 2018, over $750 million CAD had been raised in his name.

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