Before there was Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter a curly-haired young man set out on a lonely trek to do something about cancer.
He had a small crew, a van and a dream to raise $1 for every Canadian by running his Marathon of Hope across our nation.
Although Terry Fox’s journey was cut short by the return of his cancer, the kid from Port Coquitlam was able to achieve his goal, with the support of others, raising more than $750 million since the first Terry Fox Run was held Sept. 13, 1981.
Amazingly, Terry achieved his dream without the need for a social media profile. And, as the current advertising campaign for the Terry Fox Run notes, Terry had no “likes” and no social media followers but still made a difference in the lives of cancer sufferers and their families.
He is now an international icon, an inspiration to many who participate in the annual Terry Fox Run that takes place once again this Sunday, Sept. 16.
Sometimes it takes more than a perfectly-coiffed selfie photo and an Instagram account with thousands of followers to make a media star. Sometimes it takes grit, determination and the willingness to take a personal risk to make a difference and inspire others.
That is indeed what Terry Fox did when he embarked on a journey that took him 5,373 km from St John’s, N.L. to Thunder Bay, Ont.
Along with his fundraising efforts, Fox also challenged outdated notions of what it means to have a disability, showing that there are no limits to what an amputee can do. He proved that you can accomplish your dream whatever your challenge, if you only make a start.
And so, instead of trying to win social media followers, one Tweet, follower or “like” at a time, Terry Fox won our hearts, taking one difficult step at a time.
This Sunday, we have a chance to do the same.
Participate in your annual Terry Fox Run — there are four in the Tri-Cities — or support the cause of ending cancer through research with a donation.
Doing one of those things won’t make you a media star but it will help make a difference for others, a better measure of human success if there ever was one.