If there is one reason for the entire Chase team to be stopped for an hour at one time to collectively share a moment, there is no other place in the world I would rather it be than the Terry Fox monument in Thunder Bay.
That is exactly what happened sometime early Tuesday morning around 3am (hope I got the day right) when we made our only planned group stopped at this emotionally charged and inspiring monument. Built on the hill overlooking Thunder Bay and Lake Superior and within ear shot of where his Marathon of Hope ended, it truly is a fitting tribute to, I would argue, Canada’s greatest hero and world’s most famous childhood cancer victim.
Having been at the monument twice for my previous cross Canada rides during spectacular sunrises, this visit in the middle of the night was another surreal experience that you are blessed with during these events.
We gathered as a group, listened to some heartfelt messages for the foundation founders, Jeff and Ron, before heading down the path to the monument and take our individual moments of reflection. The monument moves you, the remarkable drive, determination of one teen age individual that has inspired the entire world gets to you, it certainly gets to me. So much so, I can feel the tears streaming down my cheeks as I right this blog. It is here where I think of my personal world impacted by cancer, my parents, my sister, the most inspiring Kim, Aunt Mar, Aunt Linda, Debbie and others. I too think of the kids, childhood cancer victims and survivors, I’m wearing bracelets for, Simone, Briony, Michael, Addie and Kira, bracelets provided by their families and friends.
All that being told, this year becomes more special, because it is here where I choose to read the dedication of Samara Heisz, one of 5 kids of the most wonderful Renee and Dave Heisz. Samara was diagnosed around the time I committed to the Chase and was trying to encourage Dave to come along. I couldn’t thing of a more fitting place to pay tribute to Samara, coincidently on the day of her 9th of 12th treatments in her fight with cancer, a battle she tackles with great attitude and will win. I dedicated my ride to Samara this year and feel honoured to be able to play this small role in her battle and thank the family for providing a dedication and giving me the honour of reading it. Truly blessed I am.
Before signing of, I challenge you to think of anyone who has done more to raise awareness for cancer and inspire a world wide movement. So before you put anyone on that hero pedestal, you can use Terry Fox as a measuring stick because this unassuming hero kickstarted a movement that has changed the world and made it a better place for everyone, particularly those living with and beyond cancer.