Terry Fox was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and was raised in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. As a teen, Terry was involved in various sports, but at the age of 18, he was diagnosed with bone cancer, and had to have his right leg amputated above the knee.
Right before the operation, Terry read about an amputee who had completed the New York Marathon. He was moved by the man’s courage and determination, and this story ended up being one of the main motivations behind Terry’s inspirational Marathon of Hope.
In 1980, Terry announced that he would make a cross-Canada run on his prosthetic leg in order to raise funds and awareness for cancer research in Canada. Terry never finished his run. He stopped near Thunder Bay, Ontario after having run 5373 kilometers over 143 days worn out and in need of medical attention as his cancer reappeared in his lungs. Terry Fox passed away on June 28, 1981 at the age of 22.
At the time Terry Fox was treated for the bone cancer that claimed his leg and eventually led to his death, few patients survived osteosarcoma. Advances in treatment over the last few decades have dramatically altered that grim prognosis, with the majority of patients today not only keeping their limbs, but many also surviving the cancer.
Although Terry did not complete his Marathon, his run had raised $24.2 million for cancer research, and he became an inspiration to millions of people worldwide. Terry has received numerous honours – including the Order of Canada, but his greatest legacy is the annual Terry Fox Run which is held in cities across Canada and around the world.
This Sunday is the annual Terry Fox Run. Since Terry began his Marathon of Hope, $650 million has been raised in the fight against cancer. This year, an estimated 200,000 Canadians will join Terry Fox runs across the country and an estimated 3 million participants will take part in runs hosted by 9,400 schools in September.
When Terry was running across the country, he wanted to save the world from cancer. Terry’s legacy and the Terry Fox Run are working hard to realize that dream.