Losing–and Finding–My Passion

Do you ever feel like a fraud? I was starting to feel like a writing impostor.  I’d been a freelance writer for many years and I was becoming tired of it all–not so much the actual writing but all of the stuff that goes with it: the seemingly endless work of finding markets, pitching to editors, waiting for answers, and then, if that all went well, waiting to get paid. I wanted, no, I needed, to get out of this loop. I’d lost my passion for the work, and in this game, if you’re not passionate about the writing then the rest becomes a chore. I wrote a few articles and really tried to stoke the fire but I had to let it all go, including this blog. I couldn’t really call myself a writer anymore.

What was I though?

I’d always loved sharing my passion for writing with others and really enjoyed the time I’d spent with my writing group, but how could I teach others about writing when my heart wasn’t in it?

I still wanted to teach though and enjoyed teaching a fitness class at the Seniors Outreach Services (SOS) centre in Napanee.  I’d made new friends, they enjoyed my class, and I was improving my own fitness at the same time. With the support of the program director I’d changed my class from low-impact strength training into a strength-and-stretch class. The new program was inspired by Essentrics®.  I had a new passion: learn this program well enough to teach it. As I moved along on my Eccentric Journey I became more enthusiastic. The Essentrics® program evolved and there are now two tracks for instructors. The Aging Backwards® stream is perfect for me.  I know how much it will continue to help me and the people in my classes and anyone who needs a gentler exercise program because of chronic pain or injury. I received my certification as an Essentrics Aging Backwards® instructor in December 2019.

I now teach three or four classes a week and I love it!

As my enthusiasm for teaching Essentrics® grew, a funny thing happened: I found the passion for writing again. Now I want to write articles about health and fitness and specifically how we can all “age backwards” and take better care of ourselves. I want to share what I’ve learned and tap into the knowledge of others. I won’t even mind the pitch-wait-write-wait-loop again. I want to help other writers promote the work they are passionate about, so I will be posting more book reviews here. Check the Captions Communications page on my website for more news about my writing.

My passion for freelance work is also fueled by the fact that there will be a new Canadian Freelance Guild launching in May 2020. My writers’ organization, the Professional Writers Association of Canada, is a founding partner. Being a member of this new organization will help my work as an independent writer and Essentrics Aging Backwards® instructor.

I no longer feel like a fraud or an impostor. I am a fitness leader. I am a writer. Sometimes these two passions will come together. I will continue to write about them both with more passion, which I seem to have lost but now have found once more.

What’s your passion? How do you fuel it? What do you do when you start to feel like you’re losing it? Please let me know.

The personal is political; the political is personal 


I started working on this blog post a couple of weeks ago and was glad I didn’t complete it before getting the news that Bill C-71 had been passed by the Senate, without amendment, and was now the law in the land!

This was the good news that I and many others, including the group Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns (CDPG) had been waiting for. It was political news that had become very personal.

It became so with the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. We heard the news at around 11 p.m. on March 14. It was already the afternoon of March 15, and the only news was that all of the schools in Christchurch were on “lock down.”  Our first thoughts:  Was our son Jeremy, who teaches in Christchurch, ok? What about his wife, Jieun? Was she at home or in the community? We contacted them through our family Facebook page and learned that they were safe as was everyone they knew, many of whom are also teachers. Huge relief.

Yes, Facebook faced a lot of criticism, especially after it aired the video taken by the gunman in Christchurch, but we were thankful for the speed at which we could get good news through the platform.

Over the next few days we all learned the extent of this massacre. Fifty people, men, women, and children, had been killed in two mosques where they’d gathered for Friday prayers. Many more were injured. Within one day New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement that her country’s gun laws would change. Those changes, which took the gun laws from lax to much tougher, were finalized within a few weeks. What about Canada’s gun laws? What could be done to make them tighter? Canada has had its share of gun-related tragedies, including mass shootings. I wanted to know what could be done to toughen Canada’s gun laws.

After some research, I learned that while our gun laws are tougher than New Zealand’s were, there was pending legislation that would make them tougher. I also learned about the group Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns (CDPG). Dr. Najma Ahmed, a trauma surgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto treated the victims of the gun violence when 13 people were shot in a peaceful evening in the city in July 2018. She and many doctors across the country became increasingly upset by all of gun violence they were treating and formed CDPG in February 2019. The group organized a Day of Action on April 3, with letter-writing campaigns and rallies in 13 cities across Canada. Joining the rally in Kingston, ON was my opportunity to take action of my own.

That Day of Action was the tipping point. Several major newspapers, including the Globe and Mail, and The Winnipeg Free Press published editorials hailing the actions of CDPG and urging the government to act swiftly to change our laws.

With C-71 now having been passed, CDPG and its supporters, including me, can be joyful, but we cannot rest on our laurels. There is more to do: working towards a complete ban on handguns and assault weapons and it’s not an easy fight. (When are fights ever easy?)

There has been a lot of push-back from gun lobbyists who believe that our gun laws are already strict enough and C-71 will further erode their rights. There was further protest from the gun lobbyists following the Day of Action, using a well-worn phrase from gun lobbyists in the US telling the doctors to “stay in their own lane”. Dr. Ahmed had a perfect response to this:

“From our lane we will treat the victims of gun violence and quite literally sew back together the shattered organs, vessels and lives torn apart by bullets fired by guns.”

The gun lobbyists also petitioned the Ontario College of Physician and Surgeons complaining about Dr. Ahmed but those complaints have been dismissed. No doubt there will be continued protests to any further changes to Canada’s gun laws. That will make the work of the CDPG even more important. It will continue, as will mine. Before and since Bill C-71 was passed, I was able to have some good conversations with my MP, Mike Bossio. He took the time to call me, and send an email saying that while Bill C-71 isn’t perfect, it will make our communities safer while protecting the rights of legitimate gun owners,  including himself. I think he’s right.

Mass shootings are unfortunately all too common but none hit as close to home as the Christchurch shooting. The personal is political. The political is personal.





Understanding the invisibly wounded soldier

On November 11 we observe Remembrance Day in Canada. In other countries it is known as Armistice Day. It commemorates the signing of the agreement that ended the First World War at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. That was supposed to be the “war to end all wars” and of course we know it wasn’t. Sadly there has been another World War and there have been many other conflicts in Korea, Eastern Europe, Afghanistan, the Middle East, and many other parts of the world. Too many young men and women have died; many more have been injured physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. They are still suffering with those invisible wounds, the ones that have gone by different names and most recently known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Too many have taken their own lives because they couldn’t bear the pain any longer.

Just before Remembrance Day in 2017 I had the honour to speak with a former member of Canada’s military Andrew Godin about his PTSD.  He told me that although things are getting better, there is still a long way to go to get soldiers the help they need. 

 From my conversation with Andrew I wrote an article for The Napanee Guide that I hope will help people to better understand the invisibly wounded soldier. Here is that article:

The Invisible Soldier: Many veterans living with the invisible wound, PTSD.

Published November 9, 2017: Napanee Guide, Postmedia Network

Napanee resident Andrew Godin was officially released from the Canadian military in 2006 but he lived with his invisible wounds from his years of service starting in 2003, and he still lives with those wounds. Godin, like many veterans, lives with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and by telling his story, he hopes he helps others living with it too.

“We are getting better at getting over the hurdle of talking about PTSD, and treatments are getting better too, but there is a lot of work to do, and some men and women will still not talk about it, because they don’t want to jeopardize their careers,” Godin said.

After his diagnosis, he said that he was offered a very different job than the one he’d had as the Office Production Manager and Warrant Officer with the Mapping and Charting division—a new job that he felt he could not do. So he opted to leave the military, and still holds some resentment against those who were not willing to help him continue with the job he loved.

“I was dead to them, and after 20 years of service, it was a difficult decision to leave, but I was being ‘retired’ to this other job very fast, and I couldn’t do it.”

Godin said that he thinks there is still a lack of education and understanding about PTSD and how it affects people. He added that things are a lot better now, but there are things to work on: one of them being a better level of health services and consistency of services.

“There have been some services available in the past that are no longer available, because many thought, or think, the problem is over, that we’ve dealt with it, so it’s time to move on,” Godin said. “Changes to the Veterans Charter [where vets get a lump sum payment rather than a monthly pension] does not work for people with PTSD.”

Godin explained that some choose to self-medicate the symptoms of PTSD—sleeplessness, anxiety, depression, mood swings, etc. with alcohol or drugs, and they become addicts. They need something to kill the pain. When they have access to a lot of money, they are not capable of making rational judgement as to the wise use of those funds, and soon burn through them. Some sufferers with PTSD get to the point where they cannot cope anymore, or they can’t wait for treatment, and they commit suicide.

“It’s not the PTSD that gets you—it’s the other stuff related to it. I know more people who’ve died by their own hands than were killed in rotation. They were just tired of fighting every day. I know families that have been devastated by PTSD, and its effects,” Godin said.

“There is still a real lack of help for family members dealing with a spouse or family member with PTSD.

They unfortunately bear the brunt of the disease and become the front line support for these people and they neither have the support, resources or expertise in which to do so. I’m lucky to have the support of my wife, but I’m also not going to let this [PTSD] get me, so I’m still fighting every day.”

Godin said he doesn’t know how we have the conversation to talk about this invisible wound that no one really wants to talk about, or deal with. Veterans groups have started their own support groups, and being able to get together with friends at the Legion branch helps.

“It’s hard because everyone is off on their own agenda, and there are not enough resources—money or people—to help,” he said. “This isn’t limited to the military; it’s widespread that mental illnesses are not as well serviced as some physical ones, but we [the military] have to keep our eye on the target: doing a better job of helping our men and women who are dealing with this.”

Some programs that are helping offer veterans the opportunity to play golf, go horseback riding, or enjoy other sports. Their teammates are all veterans, so they have some shared experiences.  Some of these programs are privately funded; others funded through Legion branches. Currently there aren’t any of these programs in this area, but that could change. The Invictus Games that were held in Toronto had many participants who are living with PTSD, as well as those who’ve been physically injured. Godin said this recognition of the physical and mental illnesses that soldiers deal with helped bring the PTSD to the forefront. He added that he hopes that when people are thinking of veterans on Remembrance Day, they will not only honour the war dead, but honour the living too—especially those living with the invisible wound of PTSD.

“Something like the Invictus Games is great because it gave people a new purpose; a new focus, and it brought attention to the strength that soldiers have—the physical and mental toughness. So that’s a positive change for the future. We’ve come a long way, but there’s still a long way to go.”




My Eccentric Journey

Depending on how you pronounce it, the word “eccentric” has two meanings. I’ll let  you look it up, but you are either talking about a weird or off-beat character or characteristic, or you are talking about a type of movement. While either definition may be applicable to me, the  latter definitely is.  I am starting on a journey to become certified to teach Essentrics®. This is a fitness program designed to rebalance every part of the body through simultaneous stretching and strengthening of all 650 muscles. I’ll bet you didn’t know that you had that many muscles!  The program name uses the “soft c” pronunciation, with a different spelling: Essentrics®–tweaked by using part of the creator’s name: Miranda Esmonde White. Miranda is a former member of the National Ballet of Canada, and since developing this program, she has become a TV personality, author, much-sought after speaker, and of course, she is still teaching.

Miranda Esmonde White    

I’ve been following Miranda’s PBS program “Classical Stretch” for many years, and in the past five years, I’ve seen it change and become more popular. The PBS program seems to be geared more to Baby Boomers, but younger generations wanted this type of strength and stretch program, but maybe with a different name.  Miranda has written two books, and she and her team of instructors, which includes her daughter Sahra, have produced a number of DVDs and mini-videos, which are all available through the website.

Here is Sahra in an Introduction to Essentrics video:

I’ve introduced this program to friends, and now I’ve decided I will become a Level 1 Certified Essentrics® Instructor.  For now, I am an Apprentice Instructor. That’s where the “weird” or “offbeat” part of “eccentric” comes in.  If you’ve been following this blog, you know I have an eccentric form of humour. Telling myself that I could become a fitness instructor at age 65 might be the funniest joke yet. Yet, here’s the thing: I already have the support of family, friends,  a great group of Essentrics® instructors, and the Essentrics® training team, so I will do this. No joke.

This blog will become, in part, a record of this journey, which is just beginning. As with any journey, there will be bumps along the way, and there have already been some detours and delays. There is a lot of material for me to learn, and I have to [gasp] be filmed while teaching a class as part of my certification exam.

So why do this, and why now?

I love doing the exercises as they are a perfect antidote for my chronic pain and fatigue from fibromyalgia.  But who likes to work out alone? By becoming an instructor, I hope I will be able to help friends, family, and others improve their health by improving their posture, reduce or eliminate any pain they may have, tone their muscles, perhaps lose weight, and add an overall enjoyment to their life.  There are so many benefits to this program, which I hope they’ll appreciate and  understand from my teaching. At the very least, I’ll have company for my workouts! With the “milestone” birthday, I thought a new challenge was in order. I also want to, as Miranda and many others are  clearly doing, “age backwards.” (I think she’s 67, and I know there are many people,  including other instructors, who are doing this program well into their 70s and 80s, and beyond.)

Please join me on this eccentric/Essentrics® journey. I know it won’t be easy, but there will be some fun along the way. Who knows? Once I get my certification, you might like me to teach you!  So stay tuned.


You Say You Want a Resolution?

Years ago, John Lennon sang “You say you want a revolution?” Well, as I’m prone to do, I’m playing with those words making this  “You say want a resolution”—referring of course to New Year’s Resolutions. Some people will say, “oh I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions,” but I think they’re lying. How can you not think about looking ahead to the new year with a resolve to make it better than the one just ended? Even if 2009 was a great year for you, there’s always room for improvement isn’t there?

Since everyone’s doing their “Best of…” or “Top…” lists, I thought I might as well join in the fun. Here are some thoughts on three of the most popular resolutions:

Popular Resolution #1: Lose weight. How many of us have, or have had this as one of our top New Year’s Resolutions? I don’t anymore, but did for many years. Obviously, if I had to repeat it, I didn’t do very well at keeping it. So, while I don’t resolve to lose a specific amount of weight, I do want to keep improving my health, and that’s bound to lead to some weight loss. The trick will be to have it happen while I’m not thinking about it. By choosing foods that are better for my body, and having a daily regimen of some kind of exercise, I am bound to be healthier, and perhaps get back into those skinny black jeans hanging in my closet.

I still follow some of the practices I learned when I was working with a  Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner in 2009 and 2010. I have a chart on my office wall called  “A Guide To The Energetics Of Food” that divides foods into categories such as meats, grains, vegetables, herbs, nuts and seeds, fish, fruit, etc., and then charts what effects these will have on your body.  There are also notes on qi (pronounced chee), blood, yin and yang, tonifying and regulating foods.Copies of the chart, and other related books are available from the Redwing Book Company. I will be referring to the chart more often as I try to get, or keep, my life in better balance.

Chocolate isn’t on the chart, but hey, as I hope you’ve realized, and as my friend Doreen Pendgracs, author of Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate, always says: a day without chocolate is like a day without sunshine. I think we need plenty of both, especially during Canadian winters. So, ok, I do more exercise. (see below), and I am pretty careful with my diet, but as my dad used to say, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

Diet is only one part of a healthier lifestyle. Exercise, which to me is essential for losing weight, is also a key factor, which is why it is a popular resolution.

Popular Resolution #2:  Get More Exercise This is one I plan to keep, not only for this year, but every year. I picked up my walking two years ago, and now have a Nordic Pole Walking Group that I meet with every week–twice a week in the nice weather. Using Nordic Poles makes a walk into a workout as you are using 90 percent of your muscles. The poles also help with stability and balance. I find they take pressure off of my joints, which makes the walk more enjoyable too. Here’s a link to an article  I wrote for a website called Parks Blogger Ontario about Nordic Walking, and one of my favourite places to walk: the Dunes Trail at Sandbanks Provincial Park, near Picton, Ontario.

Here’s a photo of some of our group at Sandbanks in November 2015:


In addition to the walking I also do something I call “Dynamic Stretching.” The exercises are based on a program called Essentrics, which was developed my Miranda Esmond-White. She has been teaching this program for many years and has a popular PBS program called Classical Stretch. I have some of Miranda’s DVDs, and one featuring her daughter Sahra. I regularly follow the website, where she posts mini-workouts. Those are great to do while I’m at my desk. As I often stand at my desk, I already have a nice pad to stand on for the exercises. I have Miranda’s first book, Aging Backwards, which features all of her Essentrics exercises, and I am looking forward to getting her newest book, Forever Painless. 

These exercises are gentle, and yet when you do them for 20 or 30 minutes, you know you have worked all of your muscles. My goal is to do at least that much every day, but I won’t call it a resolution.

Popular Resolution#3 : Quit Smoking. I smoked for a very short time when I was 16 years old, but it never became a habit. I really didn’t like the smell or taste, and more importantly to me, I had better things to do with my money.  Both of my parents smoked, and most of my relatives smoked too.  Some of them still do, in spite of the fact that heart disease and stroke, two illnesses that have been linked to smoking, have caused many premature deaths in our family. My mother died in 2000 [at the age of 68] of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), directly linked to her smoking. She’d had two strokes and many mini-strokes in the three years before she died. Her doctor advised that she quit smoking while she still had a chance to beat the COPD—advice she didn’t take. I think her philosophy was that she was here for a good time, not a long time (as the song goes). I’d like to be here for a long time, and have a good time.

It saddens me how much of our lives and her grandchildren’s lives, including their graduations, weddings, and now their children, that my mother has missed.  I’m happy to say that my Dad quit smoking when he was 60 and I believe that added years to his life. I am so happy that he was in our life for another 25 years. He died in May 2016 from congestive heart failure and kidney disease related to his long-term diabetes. His doctors were amazed how long he’d live with the illness, and how well he’d managed it. He said he never regretted quitting smoking.

So it is possible, but I know it’s hard to do.  More information and help is available from your local health unit or the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada . The tobacco companies have continuously made their product more addictive, so this is likely the hardest thing you’ll do, but your friends and family, especially your children and grandchildren, will thank you.

Of course, there are other resolutions that people make, but these are the ones that seem to top the list, and it’s no surprise they are all related to health. I figured out a long time ago that if you don’t have your health, it really doesn’t matter what else you have, or want, because you can’t enjoy it, or do it well.

I’m making plans for, and hope that I will be more productive with work, make more money doing what I love to do—write and teach—and do more travelling. All of those things will add up to a pretty terrific year. But I’ll settle for just being healthier. The rest will follow.

I wish you all a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year, and I’d love to hear about your resolutions, and whether you make them now or not.

Updated from December 31, 2009

Bigger, Brighter—and Better!

Bigger, Brighter—and Better!

Posted April 22, 2015


My third time visiting the Yoga Conference and Show was, as I predicted in my last post, definitely the charm. This year’s show, held April 9-12, 2015, was bigger, brighter, and …better.

From the moment I stepped into the halls booked for the show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, I was impressed with the different layout, which was more spacious than in previous years. There also seemed to be a more positive energy, which you “yoga people” will understand, but one that’s difficult to put into words. The room seemed brighter too. Maybe it was because of the larger space.

The energy was evident in the Yoga Garden where continuous classes were offered, and I enjoyed doing some Pilates. (Yes, it’s called the Yoga Show, but many studios offer Pilates, and other movement therapy, which is all part of the show.) This was a chance to try a new movement style, or experience it in a new way with the addition of a prop. The Garden was definitely bigger so we all had more room to move.

“Ecstatic!” That was how Amanda Bond, the public relations director for Yoga Conference and Show summed up her feelings about this year’s event. Attendance was up—approximately 24,000 over the three days, almost 3,000 more than last year. There were more exhibitors—290 this year, 250 last year; and the feedback coming in, especially on the show’s Facebook page, has been very positive.

No wonder she was so excited when I chatted with Amanda a few days after the show. She told me that things would continue to grow every year and get better. Plans are already underway for next year.

“We’ll be at the Convention Centre and since we expanded our space this year, and plan to do so again next year, as that seems to make a lot of difference to our exhibitors. Everyone had more room to engage with visitors to their booths, and that seemed to lead to more discussion—and more sales, which of course made everyone happy.”

With the focus on health and wellness, the exhibitors offered a variety of products and services. What struck me more so this year was a lack of duplication. While there were some exhibitors offering similar products, there was still a bit of difference between them, giving visitors a lot of choice. There were familiar faces among the exhibitors and some newcomers. While you were certainly encouraged to buy from these vendors, and there was some pressure to do so, it wasn’t a high-pressure sales event as some trade shows become. Perhaps it was the larger space—visitors didn’t seem to feel rushed to move on to the next booth to make room for more visitors.

The trade show is, of course, a large part of the event, but it is the Yoga Conference that sets this show apart from others, according to Amanda.

“What we’ve been hearing is that the workshops we offer—everything from a two-hour to a full-day session with one of 60 international faculty—really add value to the show.” “Rather than these yoga practitioners having to go to see the faculty, they came to us, and there were opportunities to work one-on-one with them during the workshops, which everyone enjoyed.”

Sharing the day with my friend Lillie, who hadn’t attended a show before, was wonderful as I was trying to see it all for the first time as she was. Lillie shared her thoughts on the show on her blog.

As I only attended the event for one day, I didn’t take part in any workshops, but I will give serious consideration to doing so next year, which will mean that I will attend the 2016 Toronto Yoga Conference and Show for more than one day in order to take it all in. Lillie and I commented that you really do need more than one day to really enjoy all that is offered.

In a coming post I will give you more specific impressions about some of the exhibitors and faculty I was able to meet or talk to. The 2015 show was definitely Bigger, Brighter and …Better this year. I look forward to next year, already scheduled for March 31 to April 3, 2016.

I hope to once again attend with a friend, or perhaps a group of friends, as the experience is so much richer when shared. Amanda alluded to that in her comments about the sharing among the yoga community, which is a good wrap-up for this post.

“The Yoga Conference and Show brings so many people together, who are going deeper in their personal yoga practice combined with other core elements of spirituality and personal development. In the future, we will continue to focus on our brand and keep developing the Conference and Show portion to serve the needs of our community. By creating human connections, one-on-one, between Faculty, workshop attendees and other participants, our event offers something currently unprecedented in North America.”






Terry Fox’s Legacy of Hope lives on

On April 12, 1980, Terry Fox dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean and began his Marathon of Hope from St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Two years later, pop star Michael Jackson released Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, which Terry Fox definitely had. The lyrics of the chorus say it all. Terry ran—through rain, snow, and wind, up and down hills, and around obstacles—and he did it all with humour and hope even though his pain was “thunder.”

I Said You Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’
You Got To Be Startin’ Somethin’
I Said You Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’
You Got To Be Startin’ Somethin’
It’s Too High To Get Over (Yeah, Yeah)
Too Low To Get Under (Yeah, Yeah)
You’re Stuck In The Middle (Yeah, Yeah)
And The Pain Is Thunder (Yeah, Yeah)

(Video of “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” done by the cast of “Glee.” I like this version better than the videos I found of MJ.)

I’ve driven across Canada, and while you may not always be aware of them, there are some mighty hills in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec and Ontario, especially Northern Ontario. I cannot imagine tackling those on foot!

terry fox 2

To say that Terry was an inspiration is a huge understatement. A telethon held in his honour just after his death raised $10.5 million. The annual Terry Fox Run, started in September 1981, and other events held in Terry’s honour worldwide, have raised more than $700 million to continue fighting cancer. The cancer that originally befell Terry is now curable, according to researchers, and that’s thanks to funds received from the Terry Fox Foundation.

terry fox 3

There were many tears when Terry died, but as you’ll see in this clip, he left people with a sense of pride and hope too. Flags on federal and provincial government buildings flew at half-mast the week he died, an honour usually reserved for politicians and other dignitaries. Terry was a dignitary—having become the youngest person to be named to the Order of Canada. A stamp was also issued in his honour.

Terry’s plan was to run across Canada at a pace of approximately 50 km—yes, 50 km a day! and reach British Columbia, where he would dip his leg into the Pacific Ocean, in about four or five months. There were many days that he ran at least 42 km—that’s a full marathon! As we know, he had to give up his dream after 143 days running 5, 373 kilometres. While he may not have made it to BC, that distance is pretty close to the breadth of the country. I know because my husband cycled from Victoria, BC to Victoria, PEI, a distance of almost 5,500 km in 2005.

So yes, Terry, you did run across Canada!

In September 1980 Terry returned home to receive treatment for the cancer that had now invaded his lungs. That continued for the next nine months, but he couldn’t outrun the cancer anymore. Terry Fox died on June 28, 1981, one month before his 23rd birthday.

Terry’s initial goal when he started was to raise $10,000 for cancer research. When he reached Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland, he found out they’d raised his $10,000—one dollar for each citizen in town. Terry set his sights higher–$24.17 million—one dollar for every Canadian citizen—matching the population of the country at the time.

Now there’s a new goal: to raise $35 million for cancer research with the Terry Fox events—once again matching the country’s population.

While April is “designated” as the month to usually raise funds for cancer research, September is also an important time. The 35th Anniversary of the Terry Fox Run is set for September 20. There will be events across the country around that same time. Let’s remember Terry, and his family—and their courage.

This is what Terry said shortly before he died,

“Maybe now instead of being afraid and saying ‘Look how hard Terry tried and he still got cancer,’ instead people will say ‘look at the effort he put in and he died of cancer — we’re really going to have to try hard in order to beat it, harder than we ever have before.'”

Terry definitely started something. He would have been the first to run across Canada using an artificial leg. He inspired Steve Fonyo and Rick Hansen on their journeys. Terry’s shy smile, humbleness, and hop-along gait endeared him to everyone he met, and everyone who watched him.

Let’s start planning now to make the 35th anniversary event the biggest, and best one ever. Terry got the Marathon of Hope started, and he’s left a Legacy of Hope. It’s up to us to keep it going.

He deserves no less.

terry foxAll images courtesy of Terry Fox Foundation images page.