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Throughout Canada’s vast history; there have been, and still continue to be millions of significant figures that have devoted their lives in order to make an impact on the nation. Leadership as a whole is the act of inspiring others and working towards achieving a common goal. From politicians to prime ministers and athletes like Terry Fox and Maurice Richard, these figures have been able to prove and promote their leadership abilities throughout their lives. This includes their persistence in society, the number of lives they impacted and ways their actions shed light on issues now. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Terry Fox became a cancer research activist after he was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma at the age of 18. This resulted in the amputation of his right leg. As a teenager, Fox’s passion for sports encouraged him to start his journey by running across Canada. He called it the Marathon of Hope. It was beneficial in terms of spreading cancer awareness and to help collect funds for cancer research. On the other hand, Hockey Player Maurice Richard was born in Montreal, Quebec. He played as a right winger in the NHL for the Montreal Canadians. He immensely gained popularity for his remarkable speed and his extraordinary ability to score goals. Both of these figures played a vital role in the nation at their time. However, Terry Fox is more a historically significant leader than Maurice Richard based on durability, quantity, and empathy. In terms of quantity, Terry Fox changed the lives of a lot more people than Maurice Richard. The Terry Fox run has thousands of participants from various walks of life all over Canada. The Marathon of Hope began in 1980 in St.John’s Newfoundland. Fox continued to run on a day to day basis through Quebec and Ontario as well. However, due to his critical condition; he was forced to stop running because cancer had spread to his lungs. By February 1981, the funds had already reached $24.17 million and Fox’s goal to raise one dollar for every Canadian had been a success. Not to mention, the run also has participants from all over the world; this includes more than 60 countries.
This large number of people was inspired by Fox’s work and people of all ages still continue to look up to him. During Fox’s Marathon of Hope, streets were crowded with people waiting to cheer him on which is evident from his quote, “By now there were all kinds of people, tons of people lining the road waiting for me”. They were greatly supportive of the fundraiser. This motivated Fox, even more to do what he loved and continue to change millions of lives. All this had felt like a dream to Fox.
“In Ontario the response and friendliness of all the people has been almost overwhelming,” Fox stated. A Pediatric surgeon at Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital, Roshni Dasgupta was greatly inspired by Fox’s work as a young girl. Her passion for working with sick or disabled children led her to win the Terry Fox Humanitarian award. This award had her bound to success as it paid for most of her tuition and living costs. Dasgupta said the award provided her with the inspiration to dream big. Although hockey player Maurice Richard was a very inspirational figure to hockey fans, his impact was solemnly for entertainment purposes. Richard was a well-known NHL player in Canada throughout his career however, he appealed mostly to the French-Canadian population. Additionally, during his prime time as a hockey player; televisions had not gained popularity just yet. Thus, most fans were unable to watch Richard play and relied on radios, news, and photographs. Due to this many Canadians, as well as most people living outside of the country, did not know him. This limited his fame to Canada while Fox was well known all over the world.
Secondly, Terry Fox is more historically significant than Maurice Richard based on durability due to the impacts he made on the lives of millions of people which continue till today. Even after Fox passed away in June of 1981, the Terry Fox run still occurs annually in order to raise money for cancer research and awareness. Thus, his legacy continues; as Fox once said, “If I died, I would die happy because I was doing what I wanted to do. I want to set an example that will never be forgotten.’ The run takes place in schools, workplaces, charitable events, and many other locations where everyone is allowed to participate regardless of age or athletic ability. Over $715 million has been raised at the Cancer Research Foundation in Terry’s name. Today, millions of cancer patients are being treated with the improved cancer research and technology. One example of these patients is Anna Solnickova, who was diagnosed with the same condition as Fox. Throughout her procedure, she had a 50% chance of amputation while in 1977, Fox had no other option. Solnickova’s family had not immigrated to Canada nor was she born at the time of the Marathon of Hope. However, her treatment was all made possible because of Terry Fox’s initiative and hard work. “I look at my leg and I thank him,” she said. “Because he saved my leg and he saved my life and I can never repay that debt to him, but I try,” said Solnickova. Additionally, Fox’s work allowed doctors for easier access to a lot more chemotherapy drugs and other forms of medication. This truly shows how healthcare for cancer patients has evolved due to the funds. These funds allow for scientists to look into cancer further and investigate in finding a cure. Furthermore, Maurice Richard; also known as the “Rocket” had a very successful hockey career. He had claimed the title of the first NHL player to score 50 goals in a season. Throughout his career, Richard had encountered quite some injuries; causing his durability in the NHL to be questionable by fans. Additionally, in 1960 he retired and in the year 2000 people came to pay their final respects. Richard is still remembered and admired today. One may argue that Richard had truly positively impacted many people such as hockey fans. However, his impact did not intensely change the lives of many people or impact future generations as opposed to Terry Fox.
Lastly, Fox is more significant than Maurice Richard based on empathy because he was able to understand the feelings and emotions of others as well as care for them. Fox physically and emotionally sacrificed the remainder of his life in order to fight for cancer patients who were unable to do so themselves. His understanding of the struggles people were forced to deal with, inspired him so greatly that he devoted all his time and efforts to help them. Fox wanted to guarantee that they would not have to suffer like he did. “There can be no reason for me to stop. No matter what pain I suffer, it is nothing compared to the pain of those who have cancer, and of those who endure treatment, often with little or no hope of recovery,” he said.
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