Can you identify a Canadian whose name is connected to a mountain peak, an icebreaker, and over a dozen schools and a dozen streets?
Here's a hint - he won the hearts of millions of Canadians more than three decades ago by attempting to run across Canada, on only one leg, and he fought cancer to the bitter end, losing the battle in June 1981.
His painfully shy personality, unique running style, curly hair and freckles remain etched in the memories of Canadians of a certain vintage.
But it appears many of us need a reminder of the incredible courage and determination displayed by Terry Fox - a true Canadian icon - during his Marathon of Hope in 1980, during which he ran the equivalent of a marathon a day for 143 days.
With only one Terry Fox Run planned for the Trinity Conception region on Sept. 16 (at St. Francis Field in Harbour Grace), it's hard not to wonder why such a large region is not doing more to honour Terry's legacy and continue his goal of finding a cure for cancer.
With a half-dozen or so large towns in this region, and so many of us being touched by the scourge of cancer, wouldn't it be reasonable to expect more? One would think. But it's hardly surprising. Not long ago, the Terry Fox Run in St. John's was close to being shelved. It took a major public relations effort by the foundation to revive the event, with the St. John's soccer club and its many hundreds of participates signing on to organize the run.
A similar effort may be required in this region, and here are a few suggestions. Perhaps the Conception Bay North Lightening soccer association could use its vast network of parent supporters and young athletes to stage a run in Bay Roberts in 2013. And how about the 295 Baccalieu sea cadets in Old Perlican? This corps has consistently distinguished itself as the best in the province, and could undoubtedly organize a first-class Terry Fox Run.
Terry Fox became famous for his never-give-up attitude, and demonstrated that an ordinary young man could achieve something extraordinary. In the years since his awe-inspiring run, some $600 billion has been raised for cancer research.
It takes someone with exceptional leadership qualities and an ability to motivate and mobilize volunteers and participants to organize a Terry Fox Run, and we proved last month by successfully staging the 2012 NL Summer Games that we have plenty of people with those qualities.
It's important to point out that all 42 Terry Fox Runs in the province are organized and run by volunteers, many in communities with tiny populations.
That said, we take this opportunity to issue a challenge for 2013. Let's make an effort to stage more Terry Fox runs in this region. But in the meantime, we can show our appreciation for Terry's efforts by supporting the event in Harbour Grace.
We give Terry Fox the last word: "I just wish people would realize that anything's possible if you try; dreams are made possible if you try."
— Terry Roberts