Terry Fox was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1958. A typical kid; he loved soccer, rugby and baseball.
He wanted to play on his school’s basketball team badly, but his teacher felt that cross-country running suited Terry a little more. He wasn’t too keen on running, but decided to give it a try out of respect for his teacher. Eventually, he won his high school’s athlete of the year award and shared it with his best friend, Doug Alward. He went on to study physical education at Simon Fraser University.
When he was about 19 years old, he started to feel a lot of pain in his knee. It got so bad that he had to go to the hospital where they found out that he had a form of bone cancer. His right leg had to be amputated right above his knee.
During his treatments, he decided that he wanted to make a difference in the world and help find a cure to this dreadful disease. With an artificial leg, he was determined to to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. In April 1980, he started his “Marathon of Hope” run. His intention was to run a marathon per day across Canda from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.
He started in St John’s, Newfoundland and by the end of his journey, he had almost reached Thunder Bay, Ontario. He had run about 3,339 miles in 143 days!!! Can you imagine running 26 miles every single day, 7 days a week?? For Terry Fox to accomplish this on one artificial limb is amazing!
Unfortunately, he was never able to complete this journey as the cancer had affected his lungs. By the time he ended his marathon, he had already raised $1.7 million towards cancer research! Donations continued through the Winter and by Spring, $23 million had been raised! In September 1980, he was the youngest person ever to be awarded the Order of Canada.
In 1981, Fox had lost his battle with cancer but his legacy lives on till today through the Terry Fox Run. The Terry Fox Foundation was set up in 1998 to help manage this annual event internationally. To date, the event has raised over $600 million for cancer research. Terry Fox was truly a hero!