Inspiration · Reflecting ~ Looking Back · Teaching & Working

Heroes: why we need them

Do you have a hero? Image source: Chemistry World Blog

Sometimes I feel as though the word “hero” gets so overused it’s at risk of becoming a cliche. I bet each of us has our own criteria for the status of, HERO. Thank goodness for that!! As we all live life, encountering a wide range of experiences, our personal heroes act as buffers in times of need or in search of our dreams.

I feel as though my heroes come under two major categories. I have heroes who I look to for the hope, courage, and drive. Then, I have different heroes I look to in more of a mentor-like fashion.

These heroes have followed a path in life that I foresee myself following.

Dreaming is such a wonderful thing. There are no limits, no obstacles, no prerequisites, no requirements…nothing. Our dreams are our own and we get to build them, then live them. Life comes with hiccups, I think I’ve mentioned that before 🙂. The beauty of having a dream is that they give you hope and they deliver a path.

There have been times where life has thrown me a fastball, then a curveball, then a change-up (any baseball fans?). The saddest part of those days was losing sight of my dreams, and forgetting about my heroes.

Terry Fox was my first hero. Image copyright: Terry Fox Foundation

Every year my school pulls together a magnificent Terry Fox Run Campaign! Our organizing committee follows the same mission and vision for our campaign each year and that is to educate our students about Terry Fox. We believe that kids have to see and learn about Terry’s heroic qualities of courage, determination, perseverance, and hope. Every year the kids get inspired, motivated…and touched. After that, the donations rush in, and the fundraising happens all by itself.

I was in first grade when Terry Fox was running his Marathon of Hope. I clearly remember the spontaneous school assemblies we had, to watch video footage of Terry’s trek across Canada. At the age of six, I understood how miraculous this man was. I remember how star struck I felt each time I watched him on the news. Our teacher talked about Terry a lot and I remember feeling SO proud that he was Canadian!! Terry became my first hero. I had never had a hero up to that time in my life. I remember this new strength and power I felt, once I “got” my first hero. Terry Fox was the first person to show me that I can do anything, and overcome anything. It was such a warm and secure feeling.

So, as the Terry Fox Run gears up at my school this week, I feel the strength and determination ramp up in my own life. Last year I wrote a poem for the 30th Anniversary for the Terry Fox Run. My dad is a great writer and I sent it along to him for a bit of feedback. Rather than “editing” my work, he sent me the poem he decided to write about Terry Fox. So, I have mustered up the courage to post my poem (cuz that is a daunting format), and my dad’s poem follows that.
Do you have a hero?

I found Terry

His Time Was Ticking
By: Heidi Solway

Back in the year of nineteen eighty,
Canada met a young man named Terry.
His Marathon of Hope was a dream he would carry,
But, his run across Canada would make him grow weary.

One dollar per Canadian was his dream donation,
The Marathon wore on, Canadians cheered with elation.
The money was flowing, to help the cancer foundation,
It was easy to see, Terry was the hero of our nation.

But as miles piled on Terry found it much harder,
Through all kinds of weather he pushed his body to go farther.
His drive and dedication showed he was a man of valor,
Canadians truly believed this would end, happily ever after.

Ontario now Terry hopped and gave us a wave,
Canadians lined the streets since Terry was the rave.
But his time was ticking, nobody would be able to save,
This heroic Canadian, who would soon meet his grave.

Time to stop the Marathon of Hope he had begun,
Our nation cried because the cancer had found a lung.
Terry plead for the Marathon of Hope to still be fun,
So 30 years and counting we continue The Terry Fox Run!

Well Terry Fox, as Canadians, we thank you,
For your commitment your drive and your valor.
Our hope for your Terry Fox foundation,
Is that it’s the one to find the cure for cancer.

My Tribute to Terry
By: Pat Solway (my dad)

He entered our lives just 30 years ago
A man with a mission that was pure
To raise our awareness of a terrible disease
And help the whole world find a cure

A dollar per Canadian was all that he asked
To help him succeed in his quest
He would start his marathon on the East coast
And on one leg, head for the West

As his marathon began the nation came alive
And the money started to flow
The streets were lined with fans and well-wishers
Who all came to take in the show

The mile count increased and so did the pain
But Terry told the nation it was fun
That curly red hair and one legged hop
Became symbols of the Terry Fox Run

In Ontario now and all have joined the hunt
But the cancer is starting to spread
Our newest hero begins to feel the stress
We are filled with feeling of dread

With the cancer in his lung he cannot go on
The time has come for Terry to rest
But the damage is done and it cannot be fixed
We must honour his final request

We must carry on running the Marathon of Hope
And we must continue the fight
Let us persist with the fundraising every year and
Ensure we bring an end to this plight

So its 30 years on and thousands run now
With a strength that must come from above
Terry taught us commitment, courage and hope
Gave the nation a hero to love


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