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Heroes and hope: our marathon in medicine

November 28, 2018

I am too young

Despite the iconic images of his weather-worn face and painful grimace, he was only 22 years old when he died of metastatic osteosarcoma.

I am too late

His goal was the raise $24M – one dollar from every Canadian – for research so that others could survive a disease that would likely kill him.

I am alone

The early days were frustrating due to heavy rain and snow leading to low turnouts, but he continued on and at Port Aux Basques was met by the townspeople who donated $10,000 – one dollar for every person in the town.

That is why in these difficult times for our profession I am so thankful for the recent opportunity to bestow the Doctors of BC Terry Fox medals for outstanding contribution to cancer knowledge to three worthy recipients: Drs James Morris, Chris Fryer, and Joseph Connors. The event provided me with a chance to hear about their life’s work and revisit the heroic story of Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope.

While the man voted the second best Canadian ever is a high bar to set, we can all draw inspiration from Terry and his decision to live the remainder of his life with purpose and dedication to others. After all, this selfless service is why we chose medicine.

For each of us, the goal will be slightly different. For some it will be a legacy of leaving a situation better than it was found. For others, it will be the creation of a hopeful future and growth along the way. It may be a call or a tap on the shoulder, but the time is soon, if not now.

For all, I offer my personal support and the knowledge that local, provincial, and national organizations are working to reform healthcare. There are many ways you can contribute, and with our ongoing work on Diversity and Inclusion we want all voices to be heard. 

With that in mind, I invite you to continue emailing me at president@doctorsofbc.ca or DM me @drcadesky on Twitter or Instagram; provide your opinion when asked through our surveys; or join a Doctors of BC committee, Medical Staff Association, Division of Family Practice, or your Section, to name a few.

Healthcare reform will be a long and hard road, but so it was when Terry Fox ran the equivalent of a marathon a day for 143 days… on one leg. He once said, “I’m not a dreamer… but I believe in miracles. I have to.” Let us learn from his example as we continue on our own marathon and in the face of our challenges let us support each other with our common vision of quality care as a reason for hope.


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