Amal Chatterjee
8 min readDec 3, 2019


Source : Google photo of Terry Fox

Synopsis : The sterling character of steel in a person is appreciated by everybody so they look up to such a person as a role model the way people admire Terry Fox and his legacy. But the parents have a role to play in developing this character in a child by giving him their own example of honesty and virtues.

I have often pondered on this topic and wondered what makes a determined person different from others and what does it take to make a person determined in a positive way. By determined I do not mean those who are brainwashed to spread terror and mayhem in the name of false belief. Certainly the world is full of them whom the whole world condemns.

Then there are those who are determined to destroy themselves by choosing drugs, alcohol and other vices so they go down generating no pity for them in anyone. I suspect that many do so because they have come from broken homes or abusive or careless parents who drive such people down the road of self destruction. There are many social, emotional and psychological reasons behind why people end up doing what they do to seek solace and comfort in drugs, sex and violence because this way they are showing rebellion. In very early stages they can be won back with love , tolerance and guidance but in most cases they fail to get it when they need it so they end up in jail or dead.

Today I want to write about the topic of determination that is a state of mind more than anything else and can make a person successful in all his endeavors so I call it the positive determination. Others who are determined to destroy themselves are called people with negative determination.

I will tell you now the story of Terry Fox who was a sterling example of positive determination who was suffering from cancer that eventually took his life at the tender age of 23 in Canada but he left behind a lasting legacy of heroism and a role model for all others to follow.

Source : Google photo of Terry Fox

Terrance Stanley “Terry” Fox (July 28, 1958 — June 28, 1981) was a Canadian athlete, humanitarian, and cancer research activist. In 1980, with one leg having been amputated due to cancer, he embarked on an east to west cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Although the spread of his cancer eventually forced him to end his quest after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 mi), and ultimately cost him his life, his efforts resulted in a lasting, worldwide legacy. The annual Terry Fox Run, first held in 1981, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world’s largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research; over C$750 million has been raised in his name, as of January 2018.[1]

Fox was a distance runner and basketball player for his Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, high school and Simon Fraser University. His right leg was amputated in 1977 after he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, though he continued to run using an artificial leg. He also played wheelchair basketball in Vancouver, winning three national championships.

In 1980, he began the Marathon of Hope, a cross-country run to raise money for cancer research. He hoped to raise one dollar from each of Canada’s 24 million people. He began with little fanfare from St. John’s, Newfoundland, in April and ran the equivalent of a full marathon every day. Fox had become a national star by the time he reached Ontario; he made numerous public appearances with businessmen, athletes, and politicians in his efforts to raise money. He was forced to end his run outside Thunder Bay when the cancer spread to his lungs. His hopes of overcoming the disease and completing his marathon ended when he died nine months later.

In addition to being the youngest person ever named a Companion of the Order of Canada, Fox won the 1980 Lou Marsh Award as the nation’s top sportsman and was named Canada’s Newsmaker of the Year in both 1980 and 1981. Considered a national hero, he has had many buildings, statues, roads, and parks named in his honour across the country. ( Source : Wikipedia )

It takes great courage to do what Terry Fox did because he raised the awareness about the danger of cancer and raised money for cancer research to benefit the future generation and died in the process. As his cancer spread , his leg was amputated but he kept on running with a prosthetic leg across Canada to make his cause known to the world even when it was so painful for him to do so. It required tremendous courage and positive determination on his part when he could have died quietly in a hospital bed.

But Terry did not want to die quietly so he started running. The media took notice of this brave boy and followed him and his story everywhere until he took his last breath because such courage and determination is so rare today.

We are inundated with bad news of very bad people everyday by the media that highlights such news because it attracts attention that makes money for the media. They are in the business of making money while spreading bad news. We get tired of doom and gloom stories that fill the new papers and TV channels everyday so we like to hear about the stories of selfless people who give their life for a just cause.

I would like to know what makes people so determined that they fight and die for a just cause while the rest remain mired in mundane and obscure life that no one knows or cares about. This is the story of the vast majority of the humanity that can’t rise above its irrelevance and petty life of daily struggle.

I would like to know what it takes to have so much courage and determination like what Terry Fox had when he knew that he was going to die at his young age from a disease that had no cure. Millions of people die of various types of cancer every year and more will certainly die because they can’t get the medical cure they hope for or can’t afford the costly treatment that it entails. Terry Fox decided that he would raise the awareness about the danger of cancer and raise money for finding a cure for the future generations. The foundation that runs in his name has raised over 780 million Canadian dollars to date for cancer research while some countries spend billions of dollars to manufacture weapons to kill people because it is such a lucrative business. Please read my blog called The Military Industrial complex here.

Some people say that hardship caused by poverty , poor home environment and neglectful upbringing can harden the positive attitude of a person and his desire to get education that can lead to a better life . It is like steel that can be hardened by heat but how many people find the courage and self determination to improve themselves who come from poverty and dysfunctional homes ?

I think that the parents play a great role in hardening the steel in a person by giving him a positive role model because they can encourage a young person to always do what is right and stay on the path of virtue in spite of satanic allures. It is very hard to do given the influence the child may have on him in school or in the community where he lives but his first teachers are usually his parents whom he may try to emulate if they are the ideal parents.

The question is how many are ideal parents who try very hard to take care of their children in spite of their poverty and hardship? We all know that poverty breeds bad habits of drinking , domestic violence and taking drugs. Poor people all over the world get attracted to easy money that may come from crime so they tend to throw away whatever virtues they learned so that they can get out of poverty this way quickly. They do not care what happens to them as a consequence because the allure of quick money blinds them to the risks they take living the life of crime.

Such people do not know how to raise good children because they do not have the courage to live their life in poverty and keep their virtues intact. It is very difficult to do so because they seek the easier alternative that takes them to jail or worse but they do not care. It is very difficult to remain honest when a person can get very rich quickly through corruption. I knew an old man who openly bragged about his son who was making money with his two hands. He did not have any problem with his dishonest son because he himself was dishonest.

You cannot have the moral ascendancy over a child if you are a dishonest and corrupt person so your child will grow up without good values. A prostitute cannot tell her daughter to be moral and live an honest life.

So it comes back to the topic of good parenting. No one writes about the parents of Terry Fox but I am sure they had some influence on him to develop his character and the steel in him. While they mourned his untimely death, they were proud nonetheless of him and his legacy. I wish there were more parents like them who raised such wonderful children. It is said that behind every great man stands a great woman who helps him become great but the reverse is also true. Behind every evil man stands an equally evil woman.

I also believe that behind every wonderful child stand equally wonderful parents who raise him to be the Terry Foxes of this world. I salute such parents.

Note : My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese languages at the following links as well as my biography:

Mes blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

Blogs in Japanese

My blogs at Wix site

tumblr posts

Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch

Anil’s biography in Japanese

Биография Анила по-русскиu