Choosing the Path of Personal Power (Part 3) – Terry Fox

In my last post, I wrote that many people who see themselves as failures in life tend to have the victim’s mindset and surrender their personal power to circumstances and people around them. Today I’ll write on one exemplary story which is of the total opposite.

This is the inspiring story of Terry Fox.

You may have heard of the Terry Fox run, an annual charity non-competitive marathon event held in numerous countries around the world in commemoration of Canadian cancer activist Terry Fox, and his Marathon of Hope, and to raise money for cancer research. Do you know how the Terry Fox story began?


Marathon of Hope

Terry Fox in action

The name Terry Fox is synonymous with courage and inspiration. Terry was born in 28 July 1958 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. At age 20, Terry lost his right leg (amputated) to cancer. With the help of an artificial leg, Fox was walking three weeks after the amputation. He then progressed to playing golf with his father.

Doctors were impressed with Fox’s positive outlook, stating it contributed to his rapid recovery. He endured sixteen months of chemotherapy and found the time he spent in the British Columbia Cancer Control Agency facility difficult as he watched fellow cancer patients suffer and die from the disease.

While suffering through the chemotherapy at the hospital, Terry decided that “somewhere the hurting must stop”. Fox ended his treatment with new purpose: he felt he owed his survival to medical advances and wished to live his life in a way that would help others find courage. With an artificial right leg, he decided to run across Canada to raise funds for cancer research. He called his run the ‘Marathon of Hope’.

Terry Fox began his historical marathon run on 12 April 1980. Terry began his epic journey by dipping his artificial limb in the Atlantic at St. John’s, Newfoundland. Sadly, his run ended in Thunder Bay, Ontario on 1 September 1980 after the cancer had spread to his lungs. Terry ran an average of a marathon which is 42 kilometers (or 26 miles) every day for 143 days.

Terry passed away in June 1981, one month short of his 23rd birthday. However, four months earlier he achieved his dream of raising one dollar from every Canadian. Terry Fox remains a Canadian hero, inspiring numerous events each year.

His story resembles one with strong personal power because he refused to be victimized by cancer and the lost of his right leg. Instead, he took action with whatever inner resources and power that he had, to fight for a worthy cause. It was something bigger and beyond his own lost and pain. It was the run of his life, for many other lives.

“I don’t feel that this is unfair. That’s the thing about cancer. I’m not the only one, it happens all the time to people. I’m not special. This just intensifies what I did. It gives it more meaning. It’ll inspire more people. I just wish people would realize that anything’s possible if you try; dreams are made possible if you try” ~ Terry Fox

Terry Fox didn’t react by sinking into self-pity state and complain for the rest of his miserable life. But Terry chose to respond to his situation with true personal power and inspiring action. Talk about self-image, Terry never see himself as a disabled person. He had immense self-belief and purpose-driven that he’d accomplish his mission of raising a million dollar although he couldn’t finish his run across Canada. In fact, Terry Fox raised many millions to the cancer research cause. And his inspirational legacy lives in the hearts of many Canadians today, and continues to inspire millions across the world.

How are you responding to your own personal situation in your life? How far would you go to overcome your personal obstacles and get your breakthrough?





  1. Hello I like your blog. I actually just started one of my own, learned a lot from this website. Thank you

  2. Esperanza Moorcroft says:

    Great info. I like all your post. I will keep visiting this blog very often. It is good to see you verbalize from the heart and your clarity on this important subject which can be easily observed.

  3. Jim Lounder says:

    This was very entertaining. I have been reading your blog alot over the past few days and it has earned a place in my bookmarks.

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