“It’s like the Yukon scenery — I never get tired of reading about Terry Fox.”
George Maratos has never had cancer, and nobody in his immediate family has suffered from the disease. Terry Fox is still his hero. He can’t stop talking about the man.
About how awesome he is. Because of what he did for cancer, with cancer.
“He ran 143 marathons in a row. I don’t like running myself, even five kilometres, let alone getting up every morning with one leg.”
About how unselfish he was — “to do it when you’re that young, to raise awareness, to find a cure.”
Terry Fox suffered from cancer and as a result his leg was amputated in 1977, when he was 18. He started running across Canada on April 12, 1980. He covered 5,000 kilometres, from Newfoundland to Thunder Bay. He had to stop running on September 1, 1980 — he couldn’t go on because of cancer in his lungs.
Maratos keeps repeating, emphasizing, that Fox ran to raise awareness about the suffering caused by cancer — he was all about the cause. Fox started his run quietly, and it wasn’t until the Canadian Cancer Society got wind of it that he started getting followers.
Fox got all sorts of goodies thrown at him, but he didn’t accept any of them because the run was all about the cause. He had to borrow $10 from his dad to buy his mom a gift; it was Fox’s last Christmas. He bought her a pink wastebasket.
The Terry Fox Foundation espouses the spirit of its namesake. The organization has ten offices across the country, and 33 paid employees. Since Fox passed away in 1981, the Foundation has raised over $650 million. Eighty-four cents of every dollar goes to cancer research.
Maratos volunteers for the foundation; he’s organized the Whitehorse Terry Fox run for seven years. He went to a workshop in Vancouver, where he toured a cancer research centre that was funded by the foundation. Maratos says people who have the same kind of cancer today that Fox had in the late ‘70s don’t become amputees — this kind of knowledge is possible due to research funded by Fox’s legacy.
It’s easy to be part of the Terry Fox Run. This year it starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday, September 14 in the Rotary Peace Park. Sarah MacDougall will be playing before the run, and The Midnight Sons will be on stage after. There will be barbeque food and coffee. It’s one loop of the Millennium Trail. Maratos says there’s always a particular energy in the air
“It sounds cheesy, but. it feels like Terry Fox is there with you on the run.”