I realise it’s completely egotistical and self-aggrandising to feel that it’s somehow a special moment when I’ve done another little drawing of someone in pixels, but I wanted this personal landmark, this 1,000th Minipop, to be someone good. I didn’t want it to be just somebody that I liked. I didn’t, for example want to choose someone who plays sport for a team I like. I didn’t want to choose a musician. Or an actor. Or a politician.
It’s something I’ve been thinking about way too long, really. I’ve been thinking about it since around the 950th Minipop. No-one ever seemed perfect. Then on one of those afternoon-swallowing Wikipedia sessions, the kind where you start by looking up the population of Prague, and end up finding out about Argentina’s leading transvestite; on one of those afternoons I ended up on the Wikipedia page about a Canadian man who I’d never heard of before. Maybe it’s purely my ignorance that has kept me from learning about him until my thirty-ninth year. Maybe he’s just not that well-known outside of Canada. But from everything I’ve read about him, and the YouTube clips I’ve watched, he’s certainly one of the most well-known people in Canada.
So, the 1,000th Minipop is of Terry Fox.
I’ll summarise briefly: he lost one of his legs to cancer at the age of 18. With an artificial leg, and in an effort to raise money for cancer research, he set off on what he called the “Marathon of Hope,” aiming to run east to west across the whole of Canada. He set out to run about 42km (26-ish miles) a day. He went from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Thunder Bay, Ontario before being forced to stop when cancer spread to his right lung. He’d ran 5,373km (3,339 miles). He died at the age of 22 on 28th June, 1981.
Oddly, when I began thinking about someone for the 1,000th Minipop, I wanted someone worthy. Now I’ve done that, I don’t feel like my dumb pride at having drawn a thousand Minipops is worthy of being thought about at the same time as someone as inspiring as Terry Fox.