Monday, October 29, 2007

Why I Do Not Support the Terry Fox Run

I have wanted to do this rant for years, but am too cowardly, or call it diplomatic, to do a Letter to the Editor. Why alienate good people in a tiny town? I have to live here. It was originally written in September 2007 during the forced layover in Dease Lake.

Relevant Addendum 7 years later: since this was written I have survived a bout with colon cancer. The joke is that it must have been caused by an overdose of health foods. I opted for surgery yes (right hemicolectomy)  and chemo no. It is now more than 4 years later. The business end of the colon still works and all is well, so far. I did indeed get a Ralph Moss report. Too much space was devoted to a review of unaffordable clinics in the USA. I asked for a refund and received it. I still stand by this piece.

It is that time of year again: The annual Terry Fox run.

Saying anything against the Terry Fox phenomemon is a bit like speaking out against Santa Claus or Mother Theresa. I shall proceed anyhow.

Some background for non-Canadians:
Every September thousands of well-meaning Canadians run in order to raise money for cancer research. Those who are not running are donating and cheering. Pictures of Terry Fox, hopping across Eastern Canada on one leg, are everywhere.

Terry Fox was a young amputee who had lost a leg to cancer. He decided to run a marathon a day and make his way across Canada to raise money for more research.
Fox began by dipping his leg in the Atlantic Ocean at St. John's, Newfoundland on April 12, 1980. He was forced to stop the run on September 1, 1980 just north-east of Thunder Bay, Ontario, after 143 days. (thanks, Wikipedia) He died of cancer June 28 1981.

Terry Fox has become a Canadian icon, a secular saint.
A mountain in the most impressive part of the Rockies has been named after him. A loonie was minted with his image. Even a casual Google yields several statues. The annual run is held in his memory and raises funds for cancer research.

Now don't get me wrong: Terry Fox was an admirable young man with a tremendous spirit. What sticks in my craw is the whole "Run for the Cure" thing done in his name.

My umpty reasons for not participating in any form in this enterprise:

1) I have never been able to make the connection between me donating to a good cause and someone else running, swimming, crawling or otherwise moving a certain distance. I don't get it. If I want to donate to a charity I just DO it.

2) The run should really be called the Fox/Fonyo run.

After Terry failed in his attempt to run across Canada another young cancer amputee succeeded. Steve Fonyo was his name. Steve Fonyo made one mistake: he LIVED.

After you run across Canada and make it from sea to shining sea cheered on by a mass audience, what do you do for an encore? Steve got a bit lost afterwards and made some mistakes. But he lived. It appears we like our heroes nicely canned in the perfection of early death, not alive to muddle through like the rest of us.
Steve is hardly ever mentioned. That really ticks me off. I dug up this article about Steve. Truly, what did we do before Google?
Google only yielded it once, which is why there is no credit.

Quote: March 31 1984 Steve Fonyo, inspired by Terry Fox, began to run across Canada. Fonyo was a 19-year-old Vernon kid who’d lost his leg to cancer at age 12. He dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean at St. John’s, Newfoundland, then faced west. The journey would take him 14 months. It would end May 31, 1985 at the Pacific Ocean in Victoria.
He completed 7,924 kilometres, crossed ten provinces and raised almost $9 million for cancer research, education and patient services, including $1 million pledged by the federal government. (More millions were to follow.) On the way he wore out six artificial legs and 17 pairs of running shoes.
Fonyo wasn’t as photogenic as Terry Fox, his personality wasn’t as attractive, his run wasn’t as well organized, and his post-run life was marked with trouble with the law. But he did two extraordinary things: disabled, he ran across the entire country, and he raised those pledges in the fight against cancer to more than $13 million.
Today, Fonyo lives at Cultus Lake and works as the head mechanic for a limousine company. End quote

Steve, we salute you.

3) The money raised by the Terry Fox foundation is supposed to help find a cure for Cancer. They are indeed funding some good innovative research.
But I do not believe any of it is going into scientific research into the many natural-based protocols that have all helped some people but that are relatively cheap and not sanctioned by the official industry.

It would be nice to see solid, unbiased research into Cannabis oil, Graviola/PawPaw, the real value of vitamin B17 AKA Leatrile, and the works of Gaston Naessens, Renee Caisse, Royal Rife, Edward Koch, Harry Hoxsey and Max Gerson to name just a few. There are probably others.

Recommended reading on this topic: "Politics in Healing" by Dan Healy.

If I got cancer tomorrow I would invest in a Ralph Moss report, to shorten the learning curve about my particular form of cancer.
Ralph just looks at what works, be it allopathic or natural or a combination. We need more of his kind of And/And thinking.

I used to feel obliged to give something to the kind people who came up to the house to canvass "for cancer" (should that not be against cancer?). These days they are sent away with a short lecture instead of money.


Questar1111 said...

I am with you Ien, I will not support cancer research either, as I do not think they want to cure such a profitable disease.

Jacqui Binford-Bell said...

I must admit I decry what I have termed the "Cancer Consciousness." When my mother had it when I was twelve it was a dirty word and we hid the fact as much as possible.

Okay, that is a bad extreme but it has gone to the opposite end. I snipped at a lunch recently with 3 breast cancer survivors that they would have nothing to talk about if they didn't get cancer. And did they own anything that wasn't pink.

If poverty consciousness makes you poor then cancer consciousness must make you sick. One of the women I knew who survived for 20 years after her 2nd occurrence went the holistic route and seldom if ever talked about it.

Even John Hopkins now says at a time when we most need our immune system doctors do everything to destroy it - poison, surgery, radiation.

I did appreciate your story about Steve. I do suppose he did not fit the Fight against cancer image (and btw they were one of the worst charities as far as money making it to the purpose stated).

Ien van Houten said...

Jacqui said:"I snipped at a lunch recently with 3 breast cancer survivors that they would have nothing to talk about if they didn't get cancer."

LOL. One of my favorite moments at the market was a woman who stopped by the booth when I was still selling Amazon Herbs. She was a cancer survivor. Her care givers wanted her to join a group for "people living with cancer". Said she: "I am not living with him. I DIVORCED him!" The whole politic and rhetoric about the disease drives me nuts. All this "bravely battling" nonsense.