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One step at a time: Canadian courage

There’s more to wearing a maple leaf on your heart than stepping on a plane to Sochi to represent your country.

There’s pride that simply can’t be explained, a fire that exists within us that no one else can touch. Most times that fire is the difference between winning and losing. It’s not the Olympic fire that burns within the heart of the truly determined, but burning courage.

Canadians are blessed with sharing their nationality with Terry Fox. It’s well known he ran from Newfoundland to Thunder Bay on one leg, and that he headed across the country to raise money for cancer research, a run which ultimately killed him. It’s less known that when he stopped running he had tumors the size of a lemon and a golf ball in each lung. This didn’t happen overnight; he ran with these for most of his Marathon of Hope. He ran the length of a full marathon every single day for 143 days. With his pain, followed by more harm, he trotted into the wind.

Two years ago after my life fell apart, I went for a drive and didn’t stop until Ontario. I spent my time roaming Toronto trying to find myself. Months passed by and I never came back to New Brunswick. On Canada Day, I thought it made sense to check out Ottawa. My best memory of Canada’s capital is Terry, whose bronze figure stands across the road from Parliament. Pictures don’t do justice to the pain on his face.

Immediately, I felt his courage within me. Canada Day 2012 was highlighted for me by Terry standing tall under exploding florescent fireworks reflecting a dying sun surrounded by a Canadian sea of pride, and I’ll never forget that. Terry just wanted to go home. It was time for me to face reality in New Brunswick, and I owed it to Mr. Fox.

I came back, lost weight and chased my dream from Newfoundland all the way to Vancouver. I have a picture with every statue of Terry I encountered and all have the same face, expressing courage we all possess.

We know Terry’s amazing story. Never forget that courage is always heroic on some level. Deep down, I know he’s proud for what I did, even though he died almost eight years before I was born.

Courage has that impact on people.

You don’t need to meet someone personally to change their life. Love and courage can ignite humanity. Everyone has a destiny, and those with the courage to pursue it will reach it at all costs.

In Sochi right now, victory is reached by courage. It’s why the Canadian ski coach helped the fallen Russian skier. The only thing better than coming home is coming home a hero.

Courage will ignite the flame in everyone’s hearts. That fire will never burn out if you pursue what you were born to be.

“The dark is generous, and it is patient, and it always wins – but in the heart of its strength lies weakness. Love is more than a candle. Love can ignite the stars.” – Matthew Stover.

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