Terry Fox is a light: a speech by a parent-teacher representative.
following is a talk given by a parent teacher representative at an
elementary school where I recently spoke. I was very moved by the
talk she gave, citing the importance of compassion. By working
together in our collective fight against cancer, we can accomplish more
than we can as individuals. And like the writer, I also believe
that Terry Fox was a very special light, to the world. He did not
show us how special he was – instead he showed us how special we all
The person has asked to remain anonymous.
Why am I here today, that’s a very good question! When I was asked back
in June to take on the job as coordinator of the Terry Fox Run, my
first response was, aarrgh!!! Julia!!! All I wanted to do in
Sept. once my children were back in school was to set up a studio and
paint, but how could I say no to the Terry Fox Run???
To be honest, it is truly an honor to be here today. So I would like to
thank Julia for thinking of me, and Sandra Pascuzzi our new VP, for
making it so easy for me. With all the help of the teachers, the
students who collected pledges, and the numerous parent volunteers,
there wasn’t much for me to do, except this one thing.
A week later, the reason I wound up in this position became very clear
to me as I was sitting in Mosquito creek. It’s amazing what comes to
you when you are daydreaming! I WAS meant to paint a picture, but
not an acrylic on canvas, a picture I perceived of Terry Fox. So that’s
why I am here today, to share with you this picture, which comes from a
very peaceful place and my inspiration is Terry Fox.
Terry was a young man whose simple objective, through the Marathon of
Hope, was to inform Canadians of the importance of finding a cure for
cancer. I believe that Terry had the greatest cure in him all along.
Let’s call it a light for now! A light in Terry that shone so brightly,
even in such a dark place as cancer, it rekindled a light in everyone
he passed and therefore grew stronger and stronger. One on-looker Terry
passed in Toronto commented, “He makes you believe in the human race
again.” What is this light, which not only restores our faith in the
human race, but can restore the human race itself? If you are with me,
just find a word and hold it for a few seconds. If you are daydreaming,
stay with it, something great will come eventually!!!
I’m going to use the word, COMPASSION!
Compassion comes from the latin words ‘com’ which means together and
‘passia’ which means a suffering, together in suffering. By definition,
it means a deep sympathy or sorrow followed by an urge to help.
According to just a few of the many beautiful examples you wrote about,
it can mean helping someone who is ill by keeping them company, doing
things they enjoy, phoning them so they don’t feel alone, laughing with
them, gathering friends, or giving them hope. I think one of the
greatest and simplest forms of compassion is just to listen. Often we
don’t have the words of wisdom to help someone who is sad or ill, but
if you are present to allow whatever expression is needed at the time
then that is a great gift in itself. Sometimes, there just are no words.
Compassion, I believe, has the greatest healing power of all and Terry
shared his life to help us realize the power we have in all of us to
help others heal. Medicine can cure a disease, but only we can heal a
whole person. We bless each other!
The driver of Terry’s van while running across Canada, also his best
friend Doug Alward, has been quoted “I remember Terry saying it is
almost like this has been planned for a greater purpose”. At that
point, I think he got the picture.
There have been many men and woman who have walked this earth for such
a great purpose, Nelson Mandella, Ghandi, Mother Theresa, the
architect Buckminster Fuller, Rick Hansen, Simon Jackson, head of the
spirit bear coalition, and the list goes on.
However, only one young man, running so passionately with one leg could
touch the young people so brilliantly. Terry’s purpose was to raise
money for cancer research and stop the suffering, but inadvertently, he
also raised an awareness in all of us of one the greatest cures of all,
Today, let’s run TOGETHER with open hearts in support of Terry’s dream
and follow everyday in his footsteps with that brilliant light of
compassion to help those who are SUFFERING.
Life is sacred, let’s have a great RUN at it.