Mike Hurley was in Grade 11 when he first heard the name Terry Fox. His social studies teacher was keeping track of the legendary one-legged crusader as he made slow but steady progress in his mission to run clear across Canada. Hurley was captivated by Fox’s unpretentious demeanour, his iron-willed determination, but mostly by his selflessness.
“We were tracking him all the way along. When he stopped in Thunder Bay it was hard to return to school. The teacher, I remember, stood up in front of the gymnasium and broke down crying. Then everyone else started crying. That was the impact he had here in Nelson, I was at LVR at the time, and the whole nation was watching,” said Hurley.
“Terry is absolutely my hero. He was a selfless person, and I think that’s what people were attracted to. It was never about him. He didn’t want fame. I remember one of his lines was ‘I believe in miracles. I have to’. That was the driving force. A lot of people thought he was crazy,” said Hurley.
Hurley estimates he has only missed two Terry Fox runs since their inception, and for years now he’s been the volunteer organizer for the annual event. This year 209 volunteers and participants descended on Lakeside Park on Sunday to either complete 1 km, 2.5 km, 5 km or 10 km routes along Kootenay Lake and back.
“It’s such a fabulous venue for us to host this walk/run,” said volunteer June Spearman. “It’s so nice to see so many families come out, and people on bikes. All modes or transportation were represented.”
The organizers were particularly pleased to see the Nelson Leafs and their new coach David McLellan participated in the event.
“The new coach and the boys are really committed to community events,” said Hurley.
Hurley said he feels a social responsibility to educate the younger generation about Fox, some of whom are multiple generations apart from the hero.
“That’s the role of my generation,” he said. “To keep the Terry Fox dream alive.”
For more information about Terry Fox, visit terryfox.org.