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When Terry Fox s dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean in St. John’s Newfoundland on April 12, 1980, he was a young and little-known campaigner. He was setting out on a cross-country mission many thought unlikely to succeed not only because he planned to run a marathon (42 kilometers/26 miles) EVERY day until he reached his goal and his home in British Columbia but because he was doing it with a prosthetic leg which he had lost to cancer.
Terry had a huge sense of care and compassion and wanted to do more for those who were suffering with and battling cancer, especially the children. Therefore, his goal in the Marathon of Hope was to raise $1 from each Canadian to be donated to cancer research.
His superhuman, and painful journey continued across Newfoundland, Quebec, and into Ontario where he had run 5,374 km over 143 days. By that time, the small human-interest story he represented at the start had become a front- page story of courage and determination. He was met and cheered by large crowds, cheers, and dignitaries in each town he ran through. But what he wanted most was to promote cancer awareness and to support the cancer cause, he was not looking to be a hero.
After running across Ontario, he fell ill in Thunder Bay in September and could not continue the journey though he so desperately wanted to, as the cancer had spread to his lungs. The whole country had been following his day-to-day journey and all were saddened by his situation. With Terry in mind Canadians rallied to support his efforts and by Feb 1, 1981, had raised $24.17 million for cancer research, $1 for each Canadian as was his wish. Terry had met his financial challenge but did not meet his personal challenge and passed away in June of 1981.
An annual charity Run in his name, now in it’s fourth decade, continues to bring in millions of dollars toward the Terry Fox Foundation for cancer research and is held in September of each year, the month in which he had to end his cross- Canada run. To date these events have raised close to $700 million. The Run is also conducted in 30 countries around the world who have taken on the efforts to continue Terry’s Marathon of Hope. To this end, large strides have been made in cancer research and treatment and Terry’s efforts have literally saved lives.
Terry Fox became our Canadian hero and many structures and locations bear his name such as: approximately 32 roads and streets including the Terry Fox Courage Highway near Thunder Bay, 14 schools, 14 other building, 7 statues of him have been erected in Canada such as the one across from Canada’s Parliament Buildings, one in Thunder Bay, and another at the site of the start of his Marathon of Hope, in St. John’s Newfoundland. This number grows annually.
We invite ALL people to participate in the annual event and assist us to continue to meet Terry’s challenge. Welcome to all new Canadians especially in this 150th anniversary of our land. September 17th is the date at London’s Springbank Park. Contact Peggy Anne Endean at 226-374-9498 or Danielle DeVries at 226-374-3484 for information or a visit to your community centre/club.
The London Terry Fox Committee is interested in reaching out to all new Canadians to welcome them to our country and to share in this event with us. We would welcome visiting with you and providing you with further details about Terry Fox, his legacy, and the annual Marathon of Hope and how you can participate.