The news about Terry Fox’s run came slowly at first, little snippets of stories from here and there about this young man attempting to run across Canada.
Soon, though, Canadians were mesmerized by the sight of this lone man, running with a jerky, hip hop gait due to the prosthesis that replaced his right leg from the hip down, battling all sorts of weather as he ran the length of a marathon everyday.
With a leg lost to cancer, Terry had a dream. He wanted to complete a cross country run to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. That dream and his own magnificent spirt drove him to run 26 miles a day for 143 days — almost 3,500 miles.
But despite his incredible drive, Terry had to call the run to a halt at Thunder Bay, Ontario. Cancer had once again take hold, this time spreading to his lungs.
Terry told us he would be back, again showing his spirit as he promised to fight and not give up. But it was a promise he couldn’t keep, though he battled to the very end. All of Canada mourned when in June 1981, at the age of 22, Terry lost his battle.
But the spirit and the dream that drove Terry lives on. The very first Terry Fox run, in Sept. 1981, completed his goal of raising $1 from every Canadian to help in the battle of cancer. With Canada’s population hovering around 24 million, the Marathon of Hope raised $24.17 million.
Nor has Terry’s spirit shown any sign of fading in the years since. Three decades later, with runs across Canada and around the world, the Terry Fox Foundation said that $500 million has been raised for cancer research.
Though give year-round to help combat cancer, the annual Terry Fox runs are a rallying point. People come together to share stories of triumph and hope, a fitting tribute to the courage of this Canadian hero.