terry fox vs lance armstrong[twitter]The best comment I have read on the Lance Armstrong confession is Terry Fox would kick his ass.”

That sums it up. Both are legendary cancer awareness advocates who used athletic greatness to raise millions for the cause, but underneath they are very different.

30 plus years after Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope ended, his memory lives on with annual runs that continue to raise funds at a grassroots level. Terry never had a multi million dollar deal with Nike. Instead he would put on a tattered Adidas shoe and wear it into the ground.

A few years back I did a radio broadcast from the Children’s Hospital in Vancouver and met a girl who was in getting treatment for “Terry Fox’s cancer.” She said it with a smile, like it was a badge of honor. Her fate would be very different than Terry’s. The money and awareness he raised had made the cancer that killed him highly treatable just years later.

That’s Terry’s legacy.

Lance’s? Well, that’s in tatters. Hundreds of millions of dollars raised for cancer awareness and research, yes, but at what cost? The lies. The bullying. The intimidation. The arrogance. Is it all worth it?

The totals between the two reveal a lot:

Terry Fox ran from Newfoundland to Thunder Bay, a distance of 5373 km, one one leg.

Through his Marathon of Hope and the legacy it left behind, more than $550 Million has been raised for cancer research.

Lance Armstrong rode his bike 3600 km around France.

The Livestrong Foundation has raised $470 M since it was started in the mid 90s.

While Terry would wake up each morning and try to cough out the cancer from his lungs, Lance would lay out his arm and get an injection of testosterone, blood, or EPO.

The good news? Nearly $1B has been raised by these two men in the past 30 years. That’s serious cash, and that’s a big reason why, for many people, “the big C” isn’t as scary as it used to be.

Still, if there’s a person you want to look up to today as an inspiration to gain strength and truly “live strong” in the face of cancer, put on a pair of blue Adidas and leave the yellow wristband at home.

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  1. Randahl January 18, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Well said. It blows my mind how Lance can be such an arrogant, manipulative, lying beast yet put energy into his humanitarian efforts. Any thought? Cheers!!

  2. Chris B January 18, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    There is another difference between them…

  3. Toby Reid January 19, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Nicely laid out, Buzz. In the age of media sensationalism and celebrity, Terry stands as a stark contrast. He ran a marathon every day, declining sponsorships, doing it under the radar, and with very limited resources. Integrity is a concept he helps define, adding to his legacy.

  4. Andy January 20, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Yes, now only Jackie Robinson, Terry Fox and Mother Theresa sit atop that pedestal of individuals who truly represent the greatness of the human spirit and put others before them.

  5. Silverboarder January 22, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Amen on the blue adidas. When Adidas came out with them a few years ago it was great to see them on the street. Those are something to wear with pride.

  6. Kamal January 23, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Yet another BIG difference – very little of the money that Armstrong has raised through LiveStrong goes to cancer research. The vast majority of it is for cancer awareness, and who knows how much of that went right back into his own pockets through speaking engagement fees and marketing arrangements?

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