35 Years Forward – Celebrating A Canadian Hero and A Legend

7551-6-terry-foxI was invited to attend the grand opening exhibition of Terry Fox – Running to the Heart of Canada at the Museum of History.  As I sat there and heard the speeches of the people who were part of Terry’s life and cause during his Marathon of Hope, it was quite emotional. I was totally in awe and inspired by Terry Fox’s actions, courage, strength, determination, perseverance, vision, hope, achievement, and his humbleness.  He did not let cancer defeat his spirit, instead he was inspired to help Canadians in their battle against cancer.

As I visited the exhibition, I saw the start of his journey, his personal thoughts, how he dealt with his challenges, how he inspired all Canadians by his actions of courage. He ran 5,373 kms in 143 days practically a marathon every day on a prosthetic leg and inspired people around the world to pay attention one kilometer at a time. The actual footage of seeing and hearing Terry Fox run made me realize the challenge and exertion it took to run with a prosthetic leg – the stride, hop, shuffle to move forward and finally the sound of that prosthetic leg hitting pavement made it somewhat emotional and surreal.

Terry Fox was born on July 28, 1958 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. At the age of 19, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma and lost his right leg – an amputation above the knee. Terry had been through the scourge of cancer, he got chemotherapy at the children’s hospital and he’d seen families mourning for their little kids and it tore his heart out – he wanted to do something and was determined to make a difference even though he was going through cancer, struggling with losing his leg. He never lost his vision to help others.

The Marathon of Hope:  a cross-country run to raise money for cancer research by Terry Fox.


When Terry dipped his artificial leg in the Atlantic Ocean in Newfoundland on April 12, 1980, he embarked on a journey that was fueled by a single dream: a world without cancer. Millions of children, youth and adults around the world have been moved by Terry’s determination and commitment. He was forced to end his run outside of Thunder Bay when the cancer spread to his lungs. His hopes of overcoming the disease and completing his marathon ended when he died nine months later. His spirit lives on.

Dedicated to funding research, The Terry Fox Foundation continues to share Fox’s remarkable story, inspiring the next generation to follow in his footsteps.

Here’s a look at how Terry Fox impacted the lives of many and how his legacy continues to live on.

  • 143 days that Terry Fox ran during the Marathon of Hope practically a marathon every day.
  • 5,373 total km he covered in 143 days.
  • February 1, 1981 –The day that Fox’s dream of raising a dollar for every Canadian was realized.
  • $24,117,000 raised by February 1, 1981.
  • 9 number of shoes Terry wore over his six month journey. Eight on his real foot. One on his prosthetic leg.
  • $3,500,000 raised during the first Terry Fox run held on September 13, 1981.
  • $650,000,000 raised worldwide for cancer research in Terry Fox’s name.
  • .84 cents on every dollar raised by the foundation goes to cancer research.
  • 524 average number of Canadians diagnosed with cancer every day.
  • 1,152 cancer research projects the Terry Fox Foundation has supported worldwide over the past 35 years.
  • 14 Canadian schools named after Terry Fox.
  • 15 roads named after Terry Fox.
  • 9,000 runs held in Terry Fox’s name.

4 thoughts on “35 Years Forward – Celebrating A Canadian Hero and A Legend

  1. Hi there, Thanks for posting. Terry Fox’s story is truly an inspiring one. Typically, it is quite difficult to be viewed as a “hero” in Canada as Canadians are generally quite hard to impress that way. But Terry’s perseverance, determination and sheer grit put him in a panthenon of rare, extra-special heros.

  2. the Terry Fox run is a part of my youth!!! What an inspiration he was, reminding us what amazing things Canadians have accomplished. I hope his legacy is never forgotten and children continue to learn about a hero.

  3. Terry Fox is part of the fabric of my family. My grandfather was dying of cancer at the same time as he was doing his Marathon of Hope. We watched him daily on the news, make slow progress across the country while my Grandfather slowly failed. He represented hope. Every year when the kids are doing their Terry Fox run I think of that time. Thank you for highlighting a Canadian Hero.

  4. Thank you for all of your comments, it resonates so deeply with me. His sheer determination, courage, and hope in the face of such great challenges he had to face is an inspiration to all of us.

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