Monday, January 24, 2011

Childhood Obstacles

When I was in elementary school I wasn't a skinny kid, really I have never been a small child. That's me in the Pocahontas matching shirt + shorts - stylish as well ;)

The reason I'm pointing this out (besides the super cute pictures of my sisters and I!) is because yesterday I concurred a fear from my youth - The Terry Fox Run.

A little background (straight from Wikipedia) on Terry Fox and then I'll tell you why I feared this incredibly important fundraiser:

Terrance Stanley "Terry" Fox CC OD, (July 28, 1958 – June 28, 1981) was a Canadianhumanitarian, athlete, and cancer research activist. In 1980, with one leg having been amputated, he embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Although the spread of his cancer eventually forced him to end his quest after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 mi), and ultimately cost him his life, his efforts resulted in a lasting, worldwide legacy. The annual Terry Fox Run, first held in 1981, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research; over C$500 million has been raised in his name.

Even now, 30 years after his death, Fox remains a prominent figure in Canadian folklore. His determination united the nation; people from all walks of life lent their support to his run and his memory inspires pride in all regions of the country.[70] A 1999 national survey named him as Canada's greatest hero,[71] and he finished second to Tommy Douglas in the 2004 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation program The Greatest Canadian.[72] Fox's heroic status has been attributed to his image as an ordinary person attempting a remarkable and inspirational feat.[73][74]Others have argued that Fox's greatness derives from his audacious vision, his determined pursuit of his goal, his ability to overcome challenges such as his lack of experience and the very loneliness of his venture.

Being from British Columbia I always felt extra proud and related to Terry Fox, as I'm sure a lot of others did. I raised as much money as I could, had big discussions about Terry and cancer and the likes with my parents and grandparents, I was inspired and cried at the presentations and videos I watched about him. However when it came time to actually run the Terry Fox Run at school I got huge knots in my stomach and was so nervous and embaressed, because there was no way I could actually run the whole distance they wanted us to run! It seemed like that country road that turned into a dirt road then a cul-de-sac was the longest uphill run ever and I could barely make it 50 meters up the street before breathing heavily and having to walk as my friends peeled ahead. I would try to cheat even by switching sides of the road quickly, bend to "tie my shoes" and then run back. They gave out bookmarks at the end of the route though so this technique wasn't very good. As I got older I'm embarrassed to say that I took the stance that I was "too cool" and would walk the run with my friends to chat and take extra time before having to go back to class.

Terry Fox ran 3,339 miles in 143 days, that's nearly a marathon a day. He didn't want fame, except to raise awareness for cancer research and he didn't want celebrity. It wasn't a glamorous run, it was early mornings, long hours on the side of highways almost being run down by trucks, it was intense pain and all for a hope, for a dream of finding a cure. His drive and determination makes you know anything is possible if you fully believe in it and work hard to make it happen.

I returned home to my childhood house to visit my parents this weekend in Royston,BC. I laced up my sneakers (they're actually Livestrong runners) and ran from my house, past my old elementary school, and started up that old country road that haunted my days as a kid. I ran the entire way up the road, and back - it felt a lot shorter than it use to. I even pretended I was grabbing a bookmark when I reached the end of the dirt cul-de-sac. Then I continued and ran my whole 5 mile run up and down the hillside of Royston. It felt good running the course, even though it was just a couple of kms, facing those childhood fears.

I will never skip a Terry Fox Run again, no matter where I am, or what I am doing, where I live or how busy I think I am, every year in September (Sept. 18th, 2011!!) I will lace up my sneakers and run for Terry and for the cure to cancer. Maybe I'll even sport this beauty:
For more information on Terry Fox, the Terry Fox organization and runs in your area check out their website: Terry Fox Foundation
Its safe to say I can run further than my 5-11 year old self could, which is kind of sad. There's only one way to go from here, and it's aimed towards the Walt Disney World Marathon next January.

31 Days and 9 Hours until my Disney Face to Face Interview!!!

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