“If ever there is a tomorrow that we are not together…
there is something you must always remember.
You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem,
and smarter than you think” ~A.A. Milne
Once again this year we will be celebrating the annual Terry Fox Run. Terry Fox was a young Canadian who embarked on an incredible dream to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. That goal in itself was very admirable, but paired with the fact that Terry was a cancer survivor and that he had only one leg and the other was fit with a prosthesis, makes this goal even more amazing. As a child we followed his story so closely. We were in absolute awe of his determined spirit and unwavering passion to fulfill his goals, despite much physical pain and challenges, unpredictable weather issues and the fact that he ran what had been described as a marathon almost every day. Unreal! It was an extremely sad day for the entire nation when we heard that Terry had to discontinue his run due to the fact that he had cancer once again, but this time in his lungs. This led to his untimely death on June 28th, 1981 just shy of his 23rd birthday. In his honour his dream continues and people all over the world have raised millions by keeping the tradition of The Terry Fox Run alive and well.
My students are fascinated by his story year after year. They are very curious about his artificial leg and how he could run like he did day after day. We have had many deep discussions about how it took much more than physical ability for him but also intense mental strength and fierce determination as well to accomplish what he did. One year a little boy came to school so incredibly sad and when I asked him what was wrong he replied with tears in his eyes, “Terry Fox died. My mom just told me.” I guess in our many discussions he hadn’t fully realized that Terry was no longer with us, so from now on, I make it a point to really clarify that, as his sadness over what he felt was “new news,“ really broke my heart. I wrote a cute little song to the tune of "Old Time Religion" called The Terry Fox Song for this time of year that the kids really seem to love. The words say “Terry Fox had a dream. Terry Fox had a dream. Terry Fox had a dream called The Marathon of Hope. So he just started running, so he just started running, so he just started running in The Marathon of Hope.” The last verse says “Now it’s our turn to join in, Now it’s our turn to join in, now it’s our turn to join in for The Marathon of Hope!” I encourage them to participate with great enthusiasm in our Terry Fox Run at school in Terry’s memory and honour, but to also be "just like Terry" by making a difference in their own special ways as well. One year a little boy drew a picture of Terry and gave it to me that I have still kept. It was very well drawn but really caught my interest due to the fact that for all the attention Terry got over his artificial leg in my classroom, this boy had drawn him healthy and whole with two good legs. It touched my heart as this is the way he viewed him.
Terry had so many ways about him that were admirable. Here are just some of the qualities that he had that made him a successful person. First of all he had a dream and he did not let anyone talk him out of it. What he envisioned had never been done before, yet he believed he could do it and was not afraid to try. Have you ever been there before? Maybe God has tucked a special dream in your heart but others have talked you out of it or discouraged you from pursuing it? I hope not. Terry did not allow this. Secondly, he had an unwavering belief in himself. Despite the fact that he was disabled, he used it as a stepping stone to advance his cause, instead of it being a stumbling block. It is incredible what people can accomplish when they start to actually focus on what they can do rather than what they can’t. We can get caught up with the fact that I am only one person and how much of an impact can I really make? Terry Fox is a powerful example that one person can make an incredible impact and difference when you really believe in yourself. Thirdly, he was extremely perseverant despite so many things working against him. Faithfully, he continued day after day and raised so much money for cancer research. Finally, he inspired others to do likewise. Through his actions he brought out the best in people. He inspired a nation to come alongside him in united brotherhood to embrace the goal of kicking cancer to the curb, and join together as a nation for a very worthwhile cause. People were inspired that if Terry could do something incredible, than maybe they could too.
It is safe to assume that each one of us have been personally touched by cancer in our lives in some way through someone we love or perhaps even you personally have or have had some form of cancer. Among several who are close to me is my mom who had bowel cancer and my cousin Lisa who had a form of lymphoma. My mom was able to have surgery and she was thankfully fine. Lisa who is just like a sister to me, had a much more difficult time and had to go through many difficult treatments, yet both of them are thankfully cancer-free today. To God be the glory! Our town of Leamington has been lifting up in prayer a little girl named Aubri Andre who too has cancer. She has been receiving treatment out west and although is still working hard to recover, is doing much better from what the latest reports have said. This is Childhood Cancer Awareness month and I often think of her. She like Terry has brought our little town together and has brought an awareness to this awful disease and how we all need to do our best to support finding a cure. Our town hosted many fundraisers to help her family and it will be a very happy day when we hear Aubri is healthy and whole which is what we all continue to pray for.
“Just Like Terry” is the slogan I see around on the posters around my school. Terry’s struggle was cancer and rather than feel sorry for himself, he chose to do the opposite and in doing so has impacted millions of people. What is getting you down? What is your struggle? As the quote by A.A. Milne says "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” You have what it takes to be successful and overcome your challenges but a positive attitude is one of the first things you need to begin. Next give your struggles to God in prayer and partner with Him to be an overcomer. Know that with God “all things are possible.” God is the friend that sticks closer than a brother and He wants to help you have a breakthrough in your life in the area or areas most needed. Be inspired by Terry as a stellar example. In spite of having cancer, he left an incredible legacy for others to follow and from which to draw inspiration.
Thank you Terry! I know that I aspire to be "just like you" in many ways. You were my childhood hero and I will be proud to participate in your honour this week in our Terry Fox Run at our school. How can you be "just like Terry?" Give it some thought, as each and every one of us has incredible things to offer this world and you my friend are no exception!
Until next time,
Psalms 55:22 ~ Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you. He will never let the righteous fall.
Little Lesson Learned: Ordinary people can do extraordinary things when they believe in themselves and partner with God.
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2014