5 Terry Fox quotes that impacted my work

While not publishing related, something big happened in Canada this week. And it may go unnoticed by those that don’t pay attention to Government budgets. The Terry Fox Foundation received a commitment of $150 million over five years in support of the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centre Network. This is a project near and dear to my heart as a previous Foundation employee and a dedicated “Terry Foxer”. To celebrate, I wanted to share a post I wrote after my first school semester working at the foundation’s National Office.

At the risk of sounding corny, my work term at the Terry Fox Foundation has been a dream come true. I love the work I’m doing (research, writing grants, engaging with Foundations) and my coworkers are some of the nicest people I’ve had the opportunity to work with. A primary aspect of the Foundation’s mandate is to maintain the vision and principles of Terry Fox, so a big chunk of my first few days were spent learning about this inspirational individual. While he wasn’t perfect, no one is, he had some pretty powerful things to say that have translated over to my work term.

  • It took cancer to realize that being self-centered is not the way to live. The answer is to try and help others.”

What a profound statement from such a young guy. This is one that has really helped put into perspective the kind of work I want to do when I graduate and how I want to show up in the world.

  • I set daily goals for myself, and it’s really important that I achieve them. I need to have a daily sense of accomplishment. I know if I fall short of those goals that I will never finish.”

When I get into work, I write down the minimum I want to achieve before I leave for the day. Like Terry, it gives me a daily sense of accomplishment when I can look at that list and see what got done. While I’m not running a marathon, writing 4 grants in one day is no small feat.

  • It’s not because they’re French and we’re English. Anyone can get cancer. I’m running across Canada, and Quebec is a province in Canada. With me, it isn’t a political or racial thing, it’s just a human thing. Cancer can strike anybody. I’m trying to help out everybody with my run.”

Whenever things get hard, or I encounter a task I don’t want to do, I always remind myself: Terry didn’t skip Quebec.

  • It was an exciting day in Gambo. People came and lined up and gave me ten, twenty bucks just like that. And that’s when I knew that the Run had unlimited potential.”

Terry brought an entire country together with one vision – a world without cancer. That vision continues to guide how the Foundation operates today and ultimately how I choose to do my job within the organization. Everything we do is in pursuit of that outcome.

  • “I want to try the impossible to show it can be done.”

Sometimes it seems impossible that I will manage to write enough grants or find the right donors to cover a $4,000,000 project. But if Terry can set out on an impossible mission, and almost complete it, I can too.