“Even if I don’t finish, we need others to continue. It’s got to keep going without me.” – Terry Fox
Thirty-five years ago today, Terry Fox set off to reach his goal of raising $10,000 for cancer research . It began with a humble goal and the support of a small Newfoundland town. When he saw how the town of Channel-Port Aux Basques, N.L. alone raised $10,000, he fired up his imagination even more. His foundation has now raised over $700 million to date. His dream is being continued by his brother and millions of other strangers who support his goals and dreams.
This year, to commemorate the Marathon of Hope’s 35th anniversary, Fred Fox, the older brother of Terry, hopes to raise $35 million for the foundation. Serendipitously, that works out to roughly $1 per Canadian based on the current population in the country.
Fox was just 18 years old when he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 1977. Doctors amputated his right leg 15 centimetres above the knee. During Terry’s subsequent chemotherapy treatments, Fox struggled with watching other young people die from cancer. He died in June of 1981 at the age of 22.
Fox’s influence is still felt around the world. He is particularly popular in Cuba, which hosts the largest Terry Fox run outside Canada. Some two million people participate each year, according to Fred Fox’s estimates.
He was the youngest person ever named a Companion of the Order of Canada. He won the 1980 Lou Marsh Award as the nation’s top sportsman and was named Canada’s Newsmaker of the Year in both 1980 and 1981. Considered a national hero, he has had many buildings, schools, roads and parks named in his honour across the country. The Terry Fox Run is an annual event in schools and communities in the fall. Currently it is also the world’s largest one-day fundraiser for cancer researchry.
Canadian Museum of History will be honouring the 35th anniversary of Terry Fox’s heroic Marathon of Hope with a special exhibit. The exhibition is entitled “Terry Fox-Running to the Heart of Canada”, will be on display from April 2, 2015 to January 24, 2016 at the museum. Come and visit. The collection was compiled from items preserved by Betty Fox, Tery Fox’s mother, and is designed to bring visitors through a tour of his journey — from the first step in the marathon to the impact his story continues to have on Canadian culture.
RIP Terry Fox! You and your mission will not be forgotten.