Remembering Terry Fox 40 years after his death

Monday, June 28 marks 40 years since the passing of Canadian icon Terry Fox.

Elie Cantin-Nantel Ottawa ON

Today marks 40 years since the passing of Canadian icon Terry Fox.

The athlete, humanitarian, and cancer research activist became known after he sought to do a cross-country marathon to raise money for cancer research.

Fox had his right leg amputated after a tumour was found. However, that did not stop Fox from wanting to achieve the incredible. He decided that he would walk across Canada to raise funds for his cause.

His plan was to start on the east coast, and make his way to the west coast. He started his journey on April 12, 1980, in St John, Newfoundland, where he dipped his left foot in the Atlantic Ocean.

Unfortunately, Terry Fox would not make it to the end of his mission. He had to stop in Thunder Bay, Ontario, after he had to go to hospital due to chest pain and coughing fits.

Fox was told that the cancer had returned, and had since spread to his lungs. While this meant the end of his cross country run, it did not mean that it was a failure.

Fox had run for 5,373 kilometres, taking 143 days. He ended up raising $24.17 million, meeting his goal of raising a dollar for each Canadian.

Sadly, Terry Fox died on June 28, 1981 in Westminster, BC, at the age of 22. To honour this great Canadian, Alberta newspaper The Lethbridge Herald spoke to Fox's uncle, who is also named Terry Fox.

The 82-year-old said that "He was always a determined boy. He tried to be anything and everything. When he told them what he was going to do and run across Canada, his mother (Betty) wanted him to run across B.C. She didn’t want him to run across Canada. B.C. was far enough, which I understand her being a mother and all. And he said ‘no mom, I’ve made up my mind, and I’m running across Canada."

Many Canadians honour Terry Fox every year by participating in more than 650 Terry Fox runs across the country, to raise funds for Cancer Research.


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