I participated in the Terry Fox, Marathon of Hope run last week, on Aug 24. It was also my brother's birthday. I never knew who Terry Fox was, but when I started reading about him prior to the walk, it moved me deeply. Akash Dube who passed away two years ago due to leukemia started the Chennai Chapter after learning about this great Olympiad who ran till his last breath and changed the way we looked at life.
Similar to my Sowcarpet Food Walk, I met many like-minded bunch of youngsters who were all upbeat about the run and were taking different modes of transport to reach the venue. I did not go with anyone nor did I know anyone in the crowd. I din't care. All I cared about was the objective at hand and my inspiration, Terry Fox, as I jogged the distance and more. If he could run with prosthetics and bone cancer chewing him up, I needed to put in the maximum effort to keep running to the finish until I could do no more - I had to keep the flame of hope alive.
We all had to get our hands marked with a special ink and start the run. It was euphoric. You could walk, run, cycle and it was a free charity event. More than 10,000-15,000 people participated. What a glowing tribute!
FOr me, it was also personal at some level. I had lost two of my uncles to cancer and my neighbour, a lovely couple died within a few years of each other to cancer. It is a devastating disease and terribly painful, 100 times more than what you and I can imagine. My emotional connect made me stronger and I ran almost the entire distance - almost but not entirely.
I reached the finish, picked up my certificate and jogged back to the Exit and walked it almost half-way home. While the entire run was mapped for 6 kms, I essentially completed almost 8-9 kms. It was my way of honouring Terry Fox and Akash Dube.