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