Terry Fox

Before I even thought of making medicine a career -- before I even was a teenager -- I remember seeing this movie about a guy - an amputee -- try to run across Canada -- for cancer research. "What's cancer?" I asked my parents.

They gave me some kind of explanation which I could not understand. What I did know is that "the cancer" caused this guy to lose his leg. I still remember this story, even today.

According to this article from CTV, the 27th annual Terry Fox Run was today in Toronto. I didn't know this, but his foundation has raised over $400 million worldwide for cancer research. Here is some background information, if you're not familiar with this story.

Fox set out on his Marathon of Hope in St. John's on April 12, 1980, to raise awareness for amputee capability and cancer funds. Born in Winnipeg and raised in Port Coquitlam, B.C., he was first diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of 18.

Three years before he started his run, Fox's right leg was amputated 15 centimetres above the knee, in an attempt to stop the disease from spreading throughout his body. He ran 42 kilometres a day through the Atlantic Provinces, Quebec and Ontario; the equivalent of a full marathon everyday.

After 143 days on Canadian roads, Fox was forced to stop running near Thunder Bay, Ont., because the cancer had reached his lungs. He passed away in June of 1981 at the age of 22.

Even as a child, I didn't understand why someone so young had to pass away from an illness. The youtube video above tells a little more of the inspiring, yet tragic story of this Canadian hero.