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.
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.