Isadore Sharp Founder of the Four Seasons Hotel
Isadore Sharp recalls Terry Fox Luncheon and the Paperclip
Many Canadians may know business
legend Isadore Sharp as the Founder and former CEO of the Four Seasons Hotel.
They may not know that Sharp played a key role in furthering the legacy of the
Marathon of Hope. Sadly, Sharp's son Chris, had passed away from cancer at the
young age of 18 in 1978. Terry's youth, sincerity and spirit had moved
When cancer ended Terry's Run on
Sept. 1st in Thunder Bay, it was Sharp who sent Terry and the family a telegram
promising to carry on the Marathon of Hope as an annual run. Today, that
grassroots support has continued with the help of schools, the media and the
Terry Fox Foundation. Looking back over 30 years, Sharpe recalls a couple of
moments that have stood out in his mind.
In the early stages of Terry's Run,
he was receiving very little attention." I spoke with Terry one day from a pay
phone when he was in the East Coast. I could sense despair in his voice and
suggested a plan. I would pledge $2 for every mile Terry ran and would challenge
companies across the country to do the same. We created an ad in the newspapers
that read 'Let's make Terry's Run count'. If we could get a thousand companies
to participate, we could raise $10 million for cancer research. Terry's mood
changed and he said that's all I need."
Sharp continued his efforts to gain
financial support by hosting a luncheon for 500 business people at the Four
Season's Hotel in Toronto, including Lieutenant Governor Pauline McGibbon. Sharp
comments that Terry dressed as he had run, with his artificial leg exposed, his
gray shorts and t-shirt and he held a paper clip in one hand. Terry spoke from
the heart, he didn't have any notes. He was explaining what he was trying to do
and why he was trying to do it. It was the why the captured the audience.
"Terry had that ability to
communicate in a way that people responded to," Sharp stated, "because it really
came from the heart. He got people to rethink their priorities. Everyone was in
awe, it was as though they had stopped breathing. It was so quiet that you could
hear Terry nervously flick the paperclip in his hand," Sharp remembers. "I
regret not taping the talk, as you can't always recall as it exactly happened,
it was so dramatic."
Terry made a lasting
impression on millions. People like Isadore Sharp helped make that