Nearly four decades after his death, Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope is still an inspiration, not just in Canada but around the world, with millions participating in the annual run that bears his name.
Terry has become a symbol of the battle against cancer, known in every household. But there were only a few people there on April 12, 1980, when Terry, his leg lost to cancer, dipped the prosthetic replacement into the Atlantic Ocean near St. John’s Newfoundland, the beginning of his dream of running across Canada to raise awareness and funds for cancer research.
News of Terry’s run came slowly, little snippets of stories as he passed through communities along the way contributing to growing awareness of his fantastic journey.
It wasn’t long before Canadians were mesmerized by the sight of this lone man, running with a jerky, hip-hop gait on his prosthetic leg, setting a gruelling pace, his unyielding spirit driving him to run the length of a full marathon every day in weather ranging from blazing sun to pouring rain.
The dream came to an end at Thunder Bay, Ont. after 143 days, almost 3,500 miles. Cancer had taken hold once again, this time spreading to his lungs.
Terry promised he would be back to finish his run, but it was a promise he couldn’t keep. In June 1981, at the age of 22, Terry lost his battle and it was left to us to keep his dream alive.
The very first Terry Fox run in September 1981 completed his goal of raising $1 from every Canadian to help in the battle against cancer. The Terry Fox Foundation has raised more than $715 million for the fight against cancer since that first run.
You can help Terry’s spirit live on by participating in the annual run, which gets underway on Sept. 17. Registration for the West Shore event starts at 9 a.m. at West Shore Parks and Recreation in Colwood.
The run will officially start at 10 a.m. near the Juan de Fuca lacrosse box.