Last month will always be remembered for when school begins again and the start of the fall colours show through.
For me though, September is a time for remembering a whole cast of people — those first responders who died in the line of duty or passed away from a disease contracted because of their work; all of the ones that have either succumbed to or have survived cancer; and, the people that are moving on with their lives after suffering a debilitating injury such as losing a limb.
Why does September bring all of this out you say? That’s an easy answer.
First off of the mark is that 36 years ago, Terry Fox brought huge attention and focus to cancer through his Marathon of Hope followed by someone organizing the now annual — and worldwide — Terry Fox Run to continue Terry’s run that he wasn’t able to complete.
Running on the second Sunday in September, this year saw 80 community runs in Alberta and the Territories region along with a staggering 1,526 schools in the region participating in their own runs during the month. Translated across Canada, there are around 9,000 runs having taken place in 2017.
September also holds a special place for me because of the other work I do.
Not only is there the horror of what occurred in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, but there is Firefighter’s National Memorial Day the second Sunday of the month to go along with Police and Peace Officers’ National Memorial Day.
Having worked as a first responder for a good majority of the past 30 years, it’s important to recognize the efforts of both all those who work in emergency services — be it any firefighter, law enforcement officer or emergency medical practitioner — and the sacrifices they and their families make every day to provide something a lot of people take for granted.
Think about it this way, how many people would put themselves in a position where their job might mean the difference between someone living or dying precisely because of one small decision made in a split second, yet either don’t get paid to do it or make a pittance compared to what a life means?
These people do this for the joy they get out of being there for others. Unfortunately, all too often they don’t get the praise until something bad happens and they aren’t around to accept it. That’s why I remember now.
And lastly, having been in a rehabilitation hospital and witnessing firsthand the determination, struggles, heart-wrenching pain and extreme joy of those that have lost an arm, a leg or maybe most of their mobility — I choose to remind myself of how fortunate I am to still have all of that and wishing I could stay as positive, focused and steadfast as those people.
I guess it also helps to have been around when Rick Hansen finished his Man in Motion tour in Canada some 30 years ago.
Watching him roll around the world in his wheelchair, it seemed so impossible. However, he made it look so easy.
After seeing that and getting to know a number of people with artificial limbs, they are extraordinary people who can often do more than I can.
That’s what September means to me.
But that is…just an observation.