Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Taking the First Step


Thirty-one years ago today, Terry dipped a toe into frigid water.

And took the first step.

There was little attention or fanfare. Only a handful of people showed up.

Considering his age, it would have been easy to say he lacked qualifications for the task he was faced with. He had no degree or specialized training, nor had he done anything like this before.

No one mandated him to set out on this journey.

He wasn't being paid.

And there was no shortage of critics and cynics who doubted his committment.

But, on this day, April 12, 1980, Terry was willing to take the first step towards something he had no way of knowing at the time.

An unparalleled marathon of the human spirit.

One that still lives to this day.

The monument that marks that "first step" moment at No. 1 Water Street in St. John's, Newfoundland is quiet and subdued. A simple plaque — hardly noticeable if you're not looking for it. Eventually, a new statue and garden will be installed at "Mile Zero" where Canada's greatest champion against cancer dipped his artificial leg in the Atlantic Ocean before setting off on his Marathon of Hope.

Terry will end his run on September 1, 1980 in Thunder Bay Ont when cancer is discovered in his lungs. His final battle with cancer will end on June 28, 1981.

But, 5373 kilometres and $1.7 million dollars later, Terry's "first step" sparked a marathon that became a legacy; a legacy deeply embedded in the soul of an entire nation.



Even though you may lack the qualifications, training or experience, even though you might not see any immediate return, is there something happening in your life right now that requires you to take that monumental "first step"?

How long do you wait before taking it?

Or will you let the critics - both internal and external - have the final say?


“Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic”
JEAN SIBELIUS


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