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The Marathon of Hope ended 40 years ago today. The Terry Fox Run lives on virtually

Click to play video 'Tuesday marks 40th anniversary of the end of Terry Fox’s ‘Marathon of Hope’' Tuesday marks 40th anniversary of the end of Terry Fox’s ‘Marathon of Hope’
It was 40 years ago Tuesday that B.C.'S Terry Fox was forced to make the heartbreaking decision to end his cross-Canada run to raise money for cancer research, when his own cancer returned in his lungs. Linda Aylesworth talked to some of the people who've kept his dream of a world without cancer alive through the Terry Fox Run.

On Sept. 1, 1980, Terry Fox was forced to stop his Marathon of Hope.

The Port Coquitlam, B.C., resident, who lost part of his right leg to cancer when he was 18, ended his cross-country run to raise money for cancer research in Thunder Bay, Ont., after cancer spread to his lungs.

Click to play video 'Marathon of Hope organizer recounts his time with Canadian legend Terry Fox' Marathon of Hope organizer recounts his time with Canadian legend Terry Fox
Marathon of Hope organizer recounts his time with Canadian legend Terry Fox

Before stopping, Fox ran close to a marathon a day for 143 days, covering more than 5,000 kilometres.

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He died in New Westminster’s Royal Columbian Hospital, on June 28, 1981, one month shy of his 23rd birthday. The first Terry Fox Run took place later that year, attracting 300,000 participants and raising $3.5 million.

Read more: Terry Fox’s brother hopes 40th Marathon of Hope can inspire Canadians during coronavirus

To mark the 40th anniversary this year, organizers of the Terry Fox Run are marking it with a virtual event that will allow participants to honour Fox’s legacy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: Terry Fox 40th anniversary Adidas sneakers sell out quickly, more commemorative items on the way

Instead of gathering for one of the many large group runs that have taken place across the country over the last four decades, participants will walk, ride or run wherever they are on Sept. 20 to support cancer research.

Click to play video 'Limited release of iconic Terry Fox runners sell out in minutes' Limited release of iconic Terry Fox runners sell out in minutes
Limited release of iconic Terry Fox runners sell out in minutes

“Terry said that it’s got to keep going without me, but he could never have imagined that 40 years later, $800 million would be raised for cancer research,” brother Fred Fox said Tuesday in a release.

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“Our family is so thankful for how Canadians have embraced Terry and his mission and made such an incredible impact on cancer research with their fundraising.”

Those interested in participating are asked to visit the Terry Fox Foundation’s website.

Click to play video 'Local campaign grows to put Terry Fox on $5 bill' Local campaign grows to put Terry Fox on $5 bill
Local campaign grows to put Terry Fox on $5 bill

Tributes have been pouring in over the last few months to honour Fox on the anniversary.

Adidas released replicas of its vintage Orion running shoe that he wore during his run, with net proceeds going to cancer research.

There were also calls to have him appear on the next Canadian $5 bill, with his name included on the Bank of Canada’s official nomination page.

At the time, Fox’s brother, Darrell, said his family would be proud and grateful, but would not push for such designation.

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“That would be the last thing he would want, to be honest,” Darrell said. “He would trade any recognition and perceived significance of acknowledgment over the years for a dollar to cancer research.”

— With files from The Canadian Press