A few days before the sign of sudden start that this Saturday turned the entire Island into a trotting cayman, Patrick Parisot, the Canadian ambassador had announced: “Cuba is the first country in developing a simultaneous Terry Fox Run all over its geography, and the one of biggest turnout, only overcome by the one celebrated in the territory of Canada “.
In effect, Cubans brought together their proverbial sensibility for the matters of health with their inclination to devote themselves thoroughly to the so-called ” round dates “, to do of the twentieth edition of the race in the country an unforgettable episode, so since ten o’clock in the morning there wasn’t either a big city or a tiny village where people didn’t go to the ‘’Marathon of the Hope’’, to the variable speed of love.
The project Marabana MaraCuba, and especially its director, Carlos Gattorno, took great pains in preparations that, as always, found in the whole country the support of thousands of people. EBM could not be quiet: besides the communicative support agreed in the contract and in the heart, our team had concrete representation in the race.
Encouraged by an exciting passage: Judith’s letter – the sister of the young hero and current chairwoman of the Foundation Terry Fox – Cubans crowded the streets of optimism. The most nourished start took place in Havana’ sports room ‘’Kid Chocolate’’, from where hundreds of people assaulted the main streets of Prado, San Lázaro, Galiano and Neptuno, following an international saga that, even in different dates, has a great coincidence: the fight against cancer.
The event was born in 1981. Isadore Sharp, who had lost a son two years before, victim of cancer, visited Terry Fox at the hospital and proposed him to initiate an annual race that was multiplying the reason that the young Canadian, mortally sick with cancer, had hoisted in his heroic marathon: to collect funds for the research of that harm.
Since then to the date, people run and contribute to the cause in more than 60 countries. Just in Terry’s homeland, about 600 million Canadian dollars have been gathered to fight against the scourge.
From year to year, Cubans know more about Terry Fox, the young Canadian who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his right knee in 1977, leg that was finally amputated, but that by dint of courage turned into a world icon of perseverance and love.
The day before he was cut his leg off, his trainer showed him an article about Dick Traum, who became the first athlete with amputated leg who run the marathon of New York in 1976. It’s been told that Terry read it without interest. Taking into account what it happened later, it is hard to believe that.
He went down in history with his prosthesis. Resolved to undertake his exploit, he immersed his artificial leg in St John’s, Newfoundland, in the Canadian Atlantic Ocean, where he took two water bottles from: one of them destined to be spilled in the Pacific Ocean – once finished the race-, where it would be filled to preserve, as a remembrance, waters from both shores. That being done, he started to run on April 12th, 1980.
His main route was the southbound road of the vast nation; his dream, that every citizen could contribute with a dollar from their own pockets. Because Terry always eluded the big checkbooks.
This way, little by little, Canada and the world saw him running, for about seven minutes per km. The boy was doing 25 kilometers in the mornings and, after a rest, was traversing other 15 more. After concluding, he used to mark his advance with stones, to continue a tour the following day without skipping any piece of his country. And at the end of every day, the collected money was automatically credited to a bank account for this exemplary fight.
His integrity was not only seen in the race. Terry demanded trenchantly that corporate sponsorships were not allowed, so that anybody was looking for reputation or fortune at the cost of this aim. Powerful promoters -like McDonald’s- were thwarted by his determination. The essential thing is the public conscience, the boy insisted.
It is necessary to be standing in front of a map of Canada to really understand the dimension of his deed. But the disease was running faster than him and on September 1st, 1980, after 143 days on the road and with 5 373 km already covered, he had to stop at Thunder Bay’s city. Since then the “miracles” began: the athlete stopped but the donations did not do anything but growing. And it did not change after his very sad death, on June 28th, 1981, one month before the date in which he would be 23 years.
Beyond any Olympic champion in retirement, it is evident that Terry Fox has not stopped running. In fact, every year they are more planetary citizens who trot or walk with an image of the young guy on their vests, as tattoos or simply in their thoughts.
In Port Coquitlam’s public library, the city where he grew, his right sneaker is exposed, the one of the artificial leg, and many think that someday it will also do a marathon by itself, inspired in the willpower of the young guy that, on having worn it, gave to it the value that no commercial brand could ever bestow on it.
Terry Fox regarded is as the second most important person in the history of Canada: he is still alive in the name of schools and institutions, in several statues and in the official name of the section of the road where, only by appearances, he had to yield to the cancer. In what looks like the best metaphor, a mountain in British Columbia was baptized with his name, but the deepest homage is that of million human beings, from the whole world, who did not know him in flesh and nevertheless they hoist him as a flag of the patients of cancer and of the healthy ones of love.
Cuba confirms it every March. It is known by the Canadian ambassador, who has admitted that “the soul and Terry Fox’s determination are in this Island “. These thousands who, this Saturday, at ten o’clock in the morning, started running together from the ‘’Cabo of San Antonio’’ up to ‘’Punta de Maisí’’ as if their lives depended on that, these are the unknown friends of the Canadian who bet, every year, for winning the race against cancer, the race that Terry could not almost win.