Physical challenges affect the lives of many Canadians, and can create extraordinary circumstances under which the inspirational can be achieved. For example, Canadian icon Terry Fox began a run across the country after losing his right leg to bone cancer in 1980. Fellow Canadian Rick Hansen completed his Man in Motion wheelchair tour of the world in 1985 after losing his legs at the age of 15. These actions speak louder than the physical disabilities of their champions, with reactions to and influence by these events continuing to echo into today.
Inspired by influential Canadians such as these, Toronto bibliophile Amy Mathers is reading her way across Canada, one teen book at a time every day, for the entirety of 2014. She calculated that Terry Fox ran one kilometre every six minutes during his Marathon of Hope, and that was equivalent to the amount of time in which she could read ten pages of a book. Therefore, ten pages represents one kilometre across Canada on a journey Amy is calling her "Marathon of Books". Today, after an earlier beginning in the Maritimes, Amy finished reading her way across Ontario, and she continues her journey into Manitoba tomorrow. All books chosen are set in the province she is traveling through, or written by authors born the area.
A fervent lifelong reader, Amy was born with a type of glycogen storage disease, and has received both a liver and heart transplant in her lifetime. GSD is considered a form of muscular dystrophy, sometimes requires Amy to seek assistance with her mobility. An active advocate for the causes she is passionate about and touched by, she has an extensive resume of volunteer experience in both the literary and medical communities that have affected her life.
Amy is reading to support the Canadian Children's Book Centre, and all proceeds from her marathon will go towards endowing a new Canadian teen book award. The CBCC currently administers six different book awards, and is dedicated to the promotion of Canadian books for children while providing support and education for teachers and parents of young readers.