Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Continuing Terry's legacy

Continuing Terry's legacy
The Guardian
Darrell Fox, left, shakes hands with Bob Moffatt, president of the Charlottetown Rotary Club,
Monday, during one of many fundraising stops in P.E.I. on the Tour of Hope featuring the van
that led Darrell’s brother, Terry, on the Marathon of Hope. Guardian photo by Heather Taweel

For Darrell Fox, the van that paved the way for his brother Terry’s legacy holds more than many personal cherished memories.
The recently renovated light yellow 1980 Ford Econoline — a head turner for thousands of motorists during Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope — now holds the promise as a powerful vehicle to raise funds for cancer research.
Darrell, the national director of the Terry Fox Foundation, arrived in P.E.I. Monday with a trailer carting the van that he drove for his older brother for three months as Terry pounded out a marathon a day on Canadian roads on one good leg and a prosthetic one.
With its whereabouts being unknown for the last 28 years, Darrell has been reunited with the van after following up on a tip and acquiring the vehicle.
In Charlottetown Monday, just four days into the Tour of Hope, Darrell is excited by the stir created by a van which had travelled with Terry for 143 days and 5,373 kilometres, serving as a place to rest, sleep, eat, chat with well wishers, give interviews and collect money.
Parked outside a hotel in the capital city, a cab driver stared admiringly at the vehicle. It’s a look of interest and respect that Darrell is quickly growing accustomed to encountering.
He said the van offers people a sense of closeness to Terry and a feeling that they are getting a piece of Terry.
“It’s fascinating to see how people are impacted by it,’’ he said.
“I mean how many people so far in the past four days have said ‘is this Terry’s van?’ They are totally surprised.’’
The van is on P.E.I. until Friday with several fundraising stops planned across the province. Plans have been prepared for the van to travel cross-country, making stops at hosted events and arriving in Victoria, B.C., to coincide with this year’s start of the annual Terry Fox Run.
Darrell hopes the van carries enough emotional momentum to fuel fundraising events for years to come.
“We don’t want the Tour of Hope to end and then the van to park in front of my house,’’ he said.
He said Terry, who died at age 22 in 1981, wanted nothing more than to raise money to help cancer victims.
“I’ll never forget the speech in Scarborough where (Terry was getting) all this attention and profile and Terry saying ‘you know, one think that bothers me is all I keep hearing is Terry Fox. It’s not about me. It’s about those that I left behind in the cancer wards who are fighting for their lives. That’s what it is about’.’’
Well, Terry’s story still touches and reaches people today, notes a proud brother devoted to the cause of collecting money to find a cure for cancer.
To date, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised more than $400 million for cancer research.
And, like the van, the fundraising just keeps rolling along.
Nine thousand schools will host the Terry Fox Run this year, up from just over 1,000 in the early 1990s. A whole generation, observed Darrell, is growing up with the story of Terry Fox.
“We don’t have to dramatize the story,” he stressed.
“We don’t have to make it out to be more than it really was — the story of an average person, who through hard work and determination, fulfilled a dream. I mean that story can be told forever more.”

No comments: