The legacy of Terry Fox: The Marathon of Hope

by The Standard | September 24th, 2020 Podcast

COURTNEY McCLURE,
for The Standard

North Durham: “I want to try the impossible, to show it can be done,” declared Terry Fox.
This year, 2020, marks the 40th anniversary of the Terry Fox Run and Port Perry’s 27th Terry Fox Run.
Terry Fox was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on July 28th, 1958. Although he was born in Manitoba. He was raised in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, a community near Vancouver. He had three siblings; an older brother named Fred, a younger brother named Darrel, and a younger sister named Judith.
Growing up, Terry and his brothers loved sports. Terry even joined a few sports teams during his younger days. When he was in elementary school, he played for his school’s basketball team. However, according to the physical education teacher at Mary Hill Junior High School, Bob McGill, Terry was terrible at the sport.
Mr. McGill suggested Terry should try out for the cross-country team. Terry had no interest in running, but he started training, anyway.
Many years later, when Terry was 18 years old, he was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer), in 1976. They amputated his right leg upon his cancer diagnosis, the limb was severed 15 centimetres above the knee.
It wasn’t until April 12th, 1980, when Terry would start his cross-Canada marathon, dubbed the Marathon of Hope. He started the Marathon of Hope to raise awareness about cancer and raise money for cancer research.
Terry started the first trek of his marathon in St. John’s, Newfoundland. He ran about 5,000 kilometres (3,107 miles) before he was forced to stop in September that same year. The solo marathon lasted 143 days. Terry’s journey came to a halt outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario, because he was experiencing chest pains and was told his cancer had spread into his lungs.
“I’ve got cancer in my lungs. We have to go home and do some more treatments. But all I can say is that if there is any way I can get out there and finish, I will.” stated Terry.
Terry Fox passed away 9 months later, on June 28th, 1981, at the age of 22.
In the end, Terry’s marathon raised around $24.17 million, one dollar for every Canadian living in Canada at the time.