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Terry Fox

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Terry Fox

A young man with short, curly hair and an artificial right leg runs down a street. He wears shorts and a T-shirt that reads "Marathon of Hope"
Terry Fox in Toronto during the Marathon of Hope (July 1980)
Terrance Stanley Fox

(1958-07-28)July 28, 1958
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
DiedJune 28, 1981(1981-06-28) (aged 22)
New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
Cause of deathBone cancer that spread to the lungs
EducationSimon Fraser University
Known forMarathon of Hope
TitleCompanion of the Order of Canada

Terrance Stanley Fox (July 28, 1958 – June 28, 1981) was a Canadian athlete and activist. He lost one of his legs because of bone cancer when he was 18. He is best known for The Marathon of Hope. This was a run across Canada (with the help of an artificial leg). It started on April 12, 1980 in St. John's, Newfoundland. He did the run to get people to donate money to cancer research. He wanted to run until he got to Vancouver Island. To do this, he planned to run across the country. The goal of the run was to raise 1 million Canadian dollars for cancer research. It was later to raise one dollar for every person in Canada.

Many people helped him during his run. He ran about the distance of a marathon every day. On August 31, 1980, near the town of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Fox's cancer spread to his lungs. He had to stop running. Fox died on June 28, 1981(1981-06-28) (aged 22), in New Westminster, British Columbia. He died a month before his 23rd birthday.

Fox was made a Companion in the Order of Canada before he died. He is the youngest person to be a Companion. There is a statue of him in Ottawa (Canada's capital city), near Parliament Hill. Many schools are named after him, such as the high school he was a student at. He has been put on the Canadian $1 coin.

Fox inspired many Canadians to help people with cancer. Every year, there is the Terry Fox Run. It is a run that gives money to cancer research. As of September 2022, the run has given over 850 million Canadian dollars to cancer research.

Early life and cancer[change | change source]

Terry Fox's artificial leg.

Terry Fox was born on July 28, 1958, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His father worked for the Canadian National Railway.[1] Fox had three siblings: an older brother named Fred, a younger brother named Darrell, and a younger sister named Judith.[2] In 1966, they moved to Surrey, British Columbia. In 1968, they moved again to Port Coquitlam. The family stayed in Port Coquitlam.[2]

Fox did not like losing. He would keep doing something until he won.[3] Fox wanted to join his school's basketball team, but had trouble because he was short. His coach told him to do cross-country running. Fox started running, and practiced playing basketball.[4][5] He got better at basketball, and won an award for it when he was in high school.[2] Fox went to Simon Fraser University after high school. He studied how the human body moves, because he wanted to teach physical education.[6] Fox was on a basketball team for the university.

On November 12, 1976, Fox was driving to Port Coquitlam when he crashed his car into a truck. He hurt his knee in the crash, but did not do anything about it until he stopped playing basketball in March.[6] His knee started hurting more, so he went to a hospital. The doctors told him he had bone cancer in his knee.[2] Fox thought that he got cancer because he hurt his knee in the crash. His doctors told him this was not true. He had to have his leg amputated. He also needed chemotherapy. Fox got a metal leg so he could still walk. He was able to walk three weeks after his leg was removed, and had to do chemotherapy for sixteen months.[6]

In 1977, Rick Hansen asked Fox to join his wheelchair basketball team.[7] Less than two months after learning how to play the sport, Fox played at the national championship for it. He won three national titles playing wheelchair basketball.[2]

Marathon of Hope[change | change source]

A statue of Terry Fox.

The day before he got cancer surgery, Fox read about a man named Dick Traum.[2] Dick Traum was the first amputee to finish the New York City Marathon. The story inspired Fox, and he practiced running for fourteen months. He told his family he wanted to run a marathon, but he wanted to run much longer.[1] Fox was mad because cancer research did not get very much money. He wanted to run across Canada to get people to give money to cancer research. The only person he told this to was his friend, Douglas Alward.[6]

Fox had to run in a special way because of his leg. He had to do small jumps on his real leg for each step so his fake leg worked.[8] Practicing running was painful because Fox had to run this way. He noticed that after 20 minutes of running, he got used to the pain and the running would hurt less.[6]

On September 2, 1979, Fox ran in a 17-mile (27 km) road race in Prince George, British Columbia. He was the last one to finish the race. Many people cheered for him when he finished. After the race, he told his family he wanted to run across Canada.[9] His mother told him not to, and he got mad. She later supported Fox's run. Fox wanted to get $1 million for cancer research.[10] Later, he wanted to get $10 million, and then a dollar for every person who lived in Canada (24 million people).[11]

Before the run[change | change source]

In October 1979, Fox wrote a letter to the Canadian Cancer Society. He told them about what he wanted to do. He asked them to give him money so he could start the run. He told them that he was going to finish the run, even if he had to "crawl every last mile".[12] The Cancer Society did not know if he was going to finish the run, but they supported him once a doctor said that he was able to run. The left ventricle of Fox's heart was larger than normal. Doctors told Fox about the risks of the run. They did not think his heart was a problem. They supported his run when he told them he was going to stop running if he had heart problems.[6]

Fox wrote to many companies. He asked them for money so he could do the run. He also wrote letters asking for money for a fake leg he could use for running. The Ford Motor Company gave him a camper van, and Imperial Oil gave him fuel for it. Adidas gave him running shoes.[13] Fox did not take money from companies that wanted him to advertise what they sold. He only wanted cancer research to get money from his run.[6]

Marathon of Hope[change | change source]

The Marathon of Hope started on April 12, 1980. Fox started it when he put his fake leg into the Atlantic Ocean, on the coast of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. He also filled two bottles with water from the ocean. He wanted to keep one to remember the run, and pour the other into the Pacific Ocean when he finished in Victoria, British Columbia.[11] Fox's friend, Douglas Alward, helped him by giving him food and driving the van.[13]

When he started the Marathon of Hope, Fox had to run through very bad weather. He ran through strong wind, rain, and snow before he got to Channel-Port aux Basques.[1] The 10,000 people in the town cheered for him. They gave him $10,000.[13] During the run, Fox got angry at people he thought were stopping him from running. He also got mad at Alward. Fox's brother, Darrell, joined them when they got to Nova Scotia. This was so Fox did not get mad at Alward as much.[10]

A statue of Terry Fox in Ottawa, Ontario.

When he ran through Quebec, Fox had many problems because he could not speak French. Many people driving cars also tried to get him off the road.[6] Fox got to Montreal on June 22. By the time he was in Montreal, people had given $200,000 to cancer research.[8] The creator of Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts, Isadore Sharp, let Fox's group stay at his hotel and get food. He also said he was going to donate $2 for every mile Fox ran. Sharp got almost 1,000 other people to also do this.[14] This was because Sharp's son died of cancer, so he wanted Fox to finish his run.[15] The Canadian Cancer Society told Fox that more people would donate to cancer research if he got to Ottawa on Canada Day (July 1). He stayed in Montreal for a few more days to do this.[6]

Fox came to Ontario on June 28. Many people were on the roads to cheer for him. The Ontario Provincial Police protected him with police cars while he ran.[13] Even though it was very hot, he still ran 26 miles (42 km) every day. When he got to Ottawa, he met Pierre Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada. He was also honored at many sports games in the city. He did a kickoff (kicking the ball from the middle of the field to start a football game) at a Canadian Football League game. Fox was excited that he was being honored.[6]

On July 11, Fox ran to Toronto. 10,000 people were cheering for Fox when he came into the city.[16] Darryl Sittler, a National Hockey League player, gave him one of his hockey jerseys while he was running. He threw the first pitch at a baseball game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians. Bobby Orr, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, met Fox and gave him $25,000 for cancer research. Fox thought meeting Orr was the best part of the run.[2] The Cancer Society got around $100,000 on July 11.[2]

Fox was getting more popular. The Cancer Society asked him to go to more events and speak to more people.[6] Fox tried to do as much as he could to raise money, even if it made him run more than he needed to.[9] Newspapers such as the Toronto Star started writing news about his personal life. He did not like this. Some newspapers wrote negative news about Fox, such as The Globe and Mail writing that he was only running because a doctor did not give him the correct diagnosis. Fox said this news was "trash".[17]

End of the run and Canadian response[change | change source]

A map that shows how long Fox ran. The black line is where he went. He started in St John's (right side), and ended in Thunder Bay (left side).

Fox did not stop running during the Marathon of Hope, except for when he took the break in Montreal. He even ran on his 22nd birthday.[6] He often had pain in his lower legs, and got cysts on the end of his right leg. He also got dizzy many times. At one point, his ankle hurt for a long time. Fox thought that he fractured it, but he ran for three days until he went to a doctor. The doctor told him it was tendonitis (a type of inflammation in the tendon), and that it could get better with painkillers.[18] In late August, Fox said he was tired before he even started running each day.[6] On September 1, outside Thunder Bay, Ontario, Fox stopped because he had pain in his chest. He kept running because people cheered him on. After running a few more miles, he still had chest pain, and had problems breathing. He asked Alward to drive him to a hospital. The next day, Fox told reporters that his cancer came back, and spread into his lungs. He ended the run early, after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 mi).[11] People wanted to run the rest of the marathon for Fox, but he told them not to. This was because he wanted to do it himself.[2]

People gave $1.7 million (equal to $5.7 million in 2022) to cancer research by the time he stopped running.[6] A week after the run ended, CTV did a telethon (a television fundraiser) for Fox and the Canadian Cancer Society.[19] It ended after five hours, and it got $10.5 million (equal to $35.5 million in 2022).[2] The governments of British Columbia and Ontario gave $1 million to the fundraiser to help cancer research. People kept giving money during the winter. By April, people had given $23 million (equal to $77.9 million in 2022).[20]

In September 1980, Fox became a Companion of the Order of Canada. He is the youngest person to ever be a Companion.[21] The Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia made him a member of the Order of the Dogwood.[22] Fox won the Lou Marsh Award, which is an award given to Canada's best athlete every year.[23]

Death[change | change source]

Fox did chemotherapy many times, but his cancer kept growing.[24] Pope John Paul II sent a letter to Fox. It said that he was praying for him.[25] Doctors started doing new types of treatment to try and find something that would stop the cancer.[6] He went back to the hospital on June 19, 1981 because he had pneumonia.[26]

Fox went into a coma while he was in the hospital, and died on June 28, 1981.[27] The Canadian government made all flags go to half-mast.[28] This is done to honor somebody important who has died. 240 people went to his funeral in Port Coquitlam. The funeral was broadcasted on television. After he died, many Canadians gave more money to the Cancer Society.[29]

Legacy[change | change source]

Terry Fox Run[change | change source]

A group of people at a Terry Fox Run

While Fox was running, Isadore Sharp told him that he should make a run that people can do to give money to cancer. Fox liked the idea, but said that the run should not be a competition.[6] The Cancer Society did not want there to be a run, because they thought that another fundraiser would mean people were going to give less money to other cancer fundraisers.[30] Sharp and the Fox family did the fundraiser anyways. The first Terry Fox Run was on September 13, 1981.[6] There is one every year.

Over 300,000 people went to the first Terry Fox Run. The first run made over $3.5 million, which was given to cancer research.[31] People started doing Terry Fox Runs in other countries. In 1999, 60 different countries had Terry Fox Runs. They raised $15 million in 1999. The Terry Fox Run is the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research.[32] As of May 2022, over $850 million has been given to cancer research because of the Terry Fox Run.[33]

Movies and music[change | change source]

Fox's story was made into a movie named The Terry Fox Story in 1983. HBO produced the movie. It was put on television in the United States, and played in movie theatres in Canada.[34] Eric Fryer acted as Terry Fox in the movie. He won a Genie Award for Best Actor in 1984 after being in the movie.[35][36] The movie won a Genie Award for Best Picture, and won three other Genie Awards as well. Movie critics gave The Terry Fox Story good and bad reviews.[37] In 2005, CTV Television Network made a movie named Terry. Shawn Ashmore acted as Fox. Ashmore has two legs, so CTV edited the movie to make it look like he only had one. Fox's family liked Terry more than The Terry Fox Story.[35] Canadian basketball player Steve Nash made a documentary about Fox named Into the Wind in 2010.[38]

Rod Stewart made a song about Fox named "Never Give Up on a Dream". He put it on his album, Tonight I'm Yours (1981). Stewart also named his concert tour in Canada the "Terry Fox Tour".[39] In 1981, Ian Thomas made a song named "Runner". The song is about the Marathon of Hope. The Terry Fox Story had the song in it. In 1984, Manfred Mann's Earth Band made a cover version of the song.[40]

Other runs[change | change source]

Other people ran across Canada before Fox did. In 1974, Mark Kent ran across Canada to get money for the Canadian team at the 1976 Summer Olympics.[1] He started in Victoria, British Columbia on June 29, and ended in St. John's on October 18. Kent did not go to the 1976 Olympics after the run because he had pain in his back.

Fox did not let anyone else run the Marathon of Hope for him when he was alive. He said that he would finish it when he was healthy again.[6] In 1984, Steve Fonyo started a run because of Fox's run. Fonyo was 18. He had the same type of cancer that Fox had, and he also lost one of his legs. Fonyo named his run the "Journey for Lives".[41] He started the run in St. John's on March 31, and finished on May 29, 1985.[42] People donated over $13 million to cancer research because of Fonyo's run.[43]

Canadian Paralympic athlete Rick Hansen was also inspired by the Marathon of Hope.[44] He knew Fox because they played wheelchair basketball together. Hansen wanted to go around the world in his wheelchair. He started the Man in Motion World Tour in 1985. Hansen wanted to get $10 million to help research spinal cord injuries.[45] He started in Vancouver on March 21. During the tour, he went through 34 countries, such as the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and China.[46] He ended the tour in May 1987, and got over $26 million for research.[47] During the tour, Hansen travelled over 40,000 kilometres.[48]

Fox's disability[change | change source]

Fox did not call himself disabled.[49] He told a radio station that life was more "rewarding" since he lost his leg.[50] His run helped change how Canadians look at disabled people.[51][52] Fox's run also showed disability in a positive way.[52]

People have said that Fox's run has made the media focus on people with disabilities doing very large things, instead of looking at them do normal things.[53][54][55] Others have also said the way the media showed Fox made it seem as if a disability was only a problem for the person with it, instead of it also being a problem based on how others look at people with disabilities.[56][57]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Scrivener, Leslie (April 28, 1980). "Terry's running for the Cancer Society". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 "CBC.ca - The Greatest Canadian - Top Ten Greatest Canadians - Terry Fox". 2008-07-04. Archived from the original on 2008-07-04. Retrieved 2022-11-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  3. Inwood, Damian (September 18, 2005). "Terry Fox: 25 years; Celebrating his dream: a 12-page special section honouring the 25th Annual Terry Fox Run". Vancouver Province.
  4. "Terry Fox & the Foundation - The Early Years". 2016-04-04. Archived from the original on 2016-04-04. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  5. Mickleburgh, Rod (2005-04-11). "Remembering Terry Fox". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 6.17 Scrivener, Leslie (2000). Terry Fox: His Story. McClelland & Stewart. ISBN 978-0-7710-8019-7.
  7. Edwards, Peter (January 3, 1987). "Man in Motion set to honour pal Terry Fox". Toronto Star. p. A13.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "The Montreal Gazette - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Coupland, Douglas (2005). Terry: Terry Fox and His Marathon of Hope. Douglas & McIntyre. ISBN 978-1-55365-152-9.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "25th Anniversary of Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope | The Canadian Encyclopedia". www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 "The legacy of Terry Fox's dream". CBC News. Oct 1, 2020. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  12. Cosentino, Frank (1990). Not Bad, Eh?: Great Moments in Canadian Sports History. GeneralStore PublishingHouse. ISBN 978-0-919431-29-4.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Murphy, Angela (2005). Great Canadians: Twelve Profiles of Extraordinary People. Folklore Pub. ISBN 978-1-894864-46-6.
  14. Martin, Obituary: Betty Fox kept Marathon of Hope Pure..., The Globe and Mail, Friday June 17, 2011
  15. "Betty Fox kept Marathon of Hope pure and Terry Fox's legacy alive - The Globe and Mail". The Globe and Mail. 2012-10-25. Archived from the original on 2012-10-25. Retrieved 2022-12-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  16. Moore, Dene (2011-06-28). "Terry Fox's legacy lives on three decades after death". British Columbia. Retrieved 2022-12-01.
  17. Johnson, Arthur (August 15, 1980). "Runner bears grudge against pain of illness in marathon of hope". The Globe and Mail.
  18. Harper, Tim. "Medical check 'stupid', cancer marathoner scoffs". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2022-12-01.
  19. "TV show raises $9 million for cancer". Montreal Gazette. September 8, 1980. p. 1. Retrieved February 28, 2010.
  20. "Fox's dream raised $23.4 million". Tri-City Herald. April 12, 1981. p. 44.
  21. "Terry Fox to get Order of Canada". Montreal Gazette. September 16, 1980. p. 1. Retrieved February 28, 2010.
  22. "B. C. will give award to native son Terry Fox". Montreal Gazette. October 18, 1980. p. 28. Retrieved February 28, 2010.
  23. "Courageous Terry Fox captures Lou Marsh Award". Montreal Gazette. December 18, 1980. p. 57. Retrieved February 28, 2010.
  24. "Fox's cancer spreads". Montreal Gazette. January 29, 1981. p. 1. Retrieved February 28, 2010.
  25. "Pope prays for cancer victim". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. March 7, 1981. p. 8A. Retrieved February 28, 2010.
  26. "Fox's condition worsens". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. June 23, 1981. p. 8B.
  27. "Terry Fox dies". Ottawa Citizen. June 29, 1981. p. 1. Retrieved February 28, 2010.
  28. "Fox succumbs to cancer". St. Petersburg Evening Independent. June 29, 1981. p. 2C.
  29. "Phones 'ringing off wall' pledging cancer donations". Ottawa Citizen. June 30, 1981. p. 8. Retrieved February 28, 2010.
  30. Scrivener, Terry (September 13, 1987). "A millionaire keeps Terry's memory alive". Toronto Star. p. D1.
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  32. "Terry Fox 'never gave up and had positive attitude'". gulfnews.com. Retrieved 2022-12-01.
  33. "Terry's Story". The Terry Fox Foundation. Retrieved 2022-12-01.
  34. "More raves than boos for 'Terry Fox Story'". Montreal Gazette. May 24, 1983. p. D10. Retrieved June 7, 2024.
  35. 35.0 35.1 McKay, John (September 9, 2005). "Terry Fox: A hero's story". Maclean's Magazine. Archived from the original on October 19, 2009. Retrieved June 7, 2024.
  36. Lawson, Michael (March 22, 1984). "Terry Fox Story awarded best picture, actor Genies". Ottawa Citizen. p. 93. Retrieved June 7, 2024.
  37. "More raves than boos for 'Terry Fox Story'". Montreal Gazette. May 24, 1983. p. D10. Retrieved June 7, 2024.
  38. "Into the Wind". ESPN. Retrieved June 7, 2024.
  39. "Rod Stewart writes a song for Terry Fox". Montreal Gazette. November 13, 1981. p. 48. Retrieved June 7, 2024.
  40. Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  41. "Amputee will follow Terry Fox". Montreal Gazette. March 17, 1984. p. C4. Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  42. "14-month Journey for Lives ends today". Montreal Gazette. May 29, 1985. p. B1. Retrieved June 2, 2024.
  43. Kidd, Kenneth (January 31, 2010). "Steve Fonyo: Out of Order". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on February 4, 2010. Retrieved June 2, 2024.
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  45. Stallings, Dianne (June 19, 1985). "Wheelchair marathoner rolls through on tour of the world". St. Petersburg Times. p. 1.
  46. "Tour Timeline | Rick Hansen Foundation". www.rickhansen.com. Retrieved 2024-06-03.
  47. Kassam, Ashifa (June 9, 2007). "Rick Hansen to be inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame". Toronto Star. Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  48. "Hansen's heroic feat". Toronto Star. May 22, 1987. p. A18.
  49. McMurray, Anne (2002). Community Health and Wellness: A Socioecological Approach. Mosby. ISBN 978-0-7295-3673-8.
  50. McCaffery, Margaret; Murray, Terry (August 1981). "Terry Fox: Heroes Aren't Saints". Canadian Family Physician. 27: 1184–1186. ISSN 0008-350X. PMC 2306103. PMID 21289776.
  51. Brown, Roy I. (1997). Quality of Life for People with Disabilities: Models, Research and Practice. Nelson Thornes. ISBN 978-0-7487-3294-4.
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  54. King, Gillian A.; Brown, Elizabeth G.; Smith, Linda K. (2003). Resilience: Learning from People with Disabilities and the Turning Points in Their Lives. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-275-97943-0.
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  56. Seale, Clive (2002). Media and Health. SAGE. ISBN 978-0-7619-4730-1.
  57. Harrison, Deborah (2008-07-14). "The Terry Fox story and the popular media: a case study in ideology and illness". Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue Canadienne de Sociologie. 22 (4): 496–514. doi:10.1111/j.1755-618X.1985.tb00378.x.

Other websites[change | change source]