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He began with little fanfare from St.

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John's, Newfoundland , in April and ran the equivalent of a full marathon every day. Fox had become a national star by the time he reached Ontario ; he made numerous public appearances with businessmen, athletes, and politicians in his efforts to raise money. He was forced to end his run outside Thunder Bay when the cancer spread to his lungs.

His hopes of overcoming the disease and completing his marathon ended when he died nine months later. In addition to being the youngest person ever named a Companion of the Order of Canada , Fox won the Lou Marsh Award as the nation's top sportsman and was named Canada's Newsmaker of the Year in both and Considered a national hero, he has had many buildings, statues, roads, and parks named in his honour across the country.

Rolland was a switchman for the Canadian National Railway. He was an enthusiastic athlete, playing soccer , rugby and baseball as a child. Bob McGill, [8] [9] Fox's physical education teacher and basketball coach at Mary Hill Junior High School, felt he was better suited to be a distance runner and encouraged him to take up the sport. Fox had no desire for cross-country running, but took it up because he respected and wanted to please his coach. Fox played only one minute in his grade-eight season but dedicated his summers to improving his play. He became a regular player in grade nine and earned a starting position in grade ten.

Though he was initially unsure whether he wanted to go to university, Fox's mother convinced him to enrol at Simon Fraser University , where he studied kinesiology as a stepping stone to becoming a physical education teacher. On November 12, , as Fox was driving to the family home at Morrill Street in Port Coquitlam, he became distracted by nearby bridge construction, and crashed into the back of a pickup truck.

While his car was left undriveable, Fox emerged with only a sore right knee. He again felt pain in December, but chose to ignore it until the end of basketball season. Fox learned that two years before, the figure would have been only 15 percent; the improvement in survival rates impressed on him the value of cancer research. With the help of an artificial leg, Fox was walking three weeks after the amputation.

In the summer of , Rick Hansen , working with the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association, invited Fox to try out for his wheelchair basketball team. The night before his cancer surgery, Fox had been given an article about Dick Traum , the first amputee to complete the New York City Marathon. His hospital experiences had made Fox angry at how little money was dedicated to cancer research. He intended to run the length of Canada in the hope of increasing cancer awareness, a goal he initially divulged to only his friend Douglas Alward.

Fox ran with an unusual gait, as he was required to hop-step on his good leg due to the extra time the springs in his artificial leg required to reset after each step. He finished in last place, ten minutes behind his closest competitor, but his effort was met with tears and applause from the other participants. She recalled, "He said, 'I thought you'd be one of the first persons to believe in me. I was the first person who let him down". On October 15, , Fox sent a letter to the Canadian Cancer Society in which he announced his goal and appealed for funding. He stated that he would "conquer" his disability, and promised to complete his run, even if he had to "crawl every last mile".


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Explaining why he wanted to raise money for research, Fox described his personal experience of cancer treatment:. I soon realized that that would only be half my quest, for as I went through the 16 months of the physically and emotionally draining ordeal of chemotherapy, I was rudely awakened by the feelings that surrounded and coursed through the cancer clinic. There were faces with the brave smiles, and the ones who had given up smiling. There were feelings of hopeful denial, and the feelings of despair. My quest would not be a selfish one.

I could not leave knowing these faces and feelings would still exist, even though I would be set free from mine.

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Somewhere the hurting must stop Fox made no promises that his efforts would lead to a cure for cancer, but he closed his letter with the statement: "We need your help. The people in cancer clinics all over the world need people who believe in miracles. I am not a dreamer, and I am not saying that this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer. I believe in miracles. I have to. Doctors warned Fox of the potential risks he faced, though they did not consider his condition a significant concern.

They endorsed his participation when he promised that he would stop immediately if he began to experience any heart problems. A second letter was sent to several corporations seeking donations for a vehicle and running shoes, and to cover the other costs of the run. He observed that while he was grateful to be alive following his cancer treatment, "I remember promising myself that, should I live, I would rise up to meet this new challenge [of fundraising for cancer research] face to face and prove myself worthy of life, something too many people take for granted.

John's , Newfoundland , and filled two large bottles with ocean water. He intended to keep one as a souvenir and pour the other into the Pacific Ocean upon completing his journey at Victoria, British Columbia. Fox was met with gale-force winds, heavy rain and a snowstorm in the first days of his run. By the time they reached Nova Scotia , they were barely on speaking terms, and it was arranged for Fox's brother Darrell, then 17, to join them as a buffer.

Convinced by the Canadian Cancer Society that arriving in Ottawa for Canada Day would aid fundraising efforts, he remained in Montreal for a few extra days. Fox crossed into Ontario at the town of Hawkesbury on the last Saturday in June. He was met by a brass band and thousands of residents who lined the streets to cheer him on, while the Ontario Provincial Police gave him an escort throughout the province. Fox's journal reflected his growing excitement at the reception he had received as he began to understand how deeply moved Canadians were by his efforts.

Fox considered meeting Orr the highlight of his journey. Fox speaking outside Ottawa [6]. As Fox's fame grew, the Cancer Society scheduled him to attend more functions and give more speeches.

With Morning Came Healing: A Story of Persevering in Hope

The physical demands of running a marathon every day took their toll on Fox's body. Apart from the rest days in Montreal taken at the request of the Cancer Society, he refused to take a day off, even on his 22nd birthday. He developed cysts on his stump and experienced dizzy spells. Although he feared he had developed a stress fracture, he ran for three more days before seeking medical attention, and was then relieved to learn it was tendonitis and could be treated with painkillers.

In spite of his immense recuperative capacity, [48] Fox found that by late August he was exhausted before he began his day's run. Unsure what to do, he resumed running as the crowds along the highway shouted out their encouragement. He feared immediately that he had run his last kilometre. He realized that the nation was about to see the consequences of the disease, and hoped that this might lead to greater generosity.

Supporters and well wishers from around the world inundated Fox with letters and tokens of support.

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At one point, he was receiving more mail than the rest of Port Coquitlam combined. In September , he was invested in a special ceremony as a Companion of the Order of Canada ; he was the youngest person to be so honoured. The Ottawa Citizen described the national response to his marathon as "one of the most powerful outpourings of emotion and generosity in Canada's history". In the following months, Fox received multiple chemotherapy treatments; however, the disease continued to spread.

Fox was re-admitted to the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster on June 19, , with chest congestion and developed pneumonia. PDT on June 28, , with his family by his side. We do not think of him as one who was defeated by misfortune but as one who inspired us with the example of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity".

His funeral in Port Coquitlam was attended by 40 relatives and guests, [74] and broadcast on national television; hundreds of communities across Canada also held memorial services, [75] a public memorial service was held on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, [76] and Canadians again overwhelmed Cancer Society offices with donations. 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.

She highlighted the juxtaposition between his celebrity, brought about by the unforgettable image he created, and his rejection of the trappings of that celebrity. In September , Dr. Jay Wunder, a sarcoma specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto , noted that survival rates for osteosarcoma have increased dramatically since Fox's death.

Most patients "get limb-sparing or limb-reconstructive surgery. Now the cure rate's almost up to 80 per cent in younger patients.

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In older patients it's more like 70 per cent. So that's a pretty big turnaround in a couple of decades.


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Fox expressed a robust attitude to his situation: he refused to regard himself as disabled, [87] and would not allow anyone to pity him, telling a Toronto radio station that he found life more "rewarding and challenging" since he had lost his leg. People with disabilities started looking at things differently. They came away with huge pride", he wrote. In contrast, the narrative surrounding Fox has been critiqued as illustrating the media's focus on stereotyped portrayals of the heroic and extraordinary achievements of people with disabilities, rather than more mundane accomplishments.

But a lot of disabled people are made to feel like failures if they haven't done something extraordinary. Do we have to be 'supercrips' in order to be valid? And if we're not super, are we invalid? Sharp had lost his own son to cancer and offered Fox and his companions free accommodation at his hotels. Fox agreed, but insisted that the runs be non-competitive.