- Category : Athlete
- Type : GP
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Split - Small (46)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Unexpected 2
Canadian athlete, whose transcontinental run helped raise more than $24 million for cancer research. Fox undertook the run, called the Marathon of Hope and drawing national attention, after losing much of his right leg to bone cancer.
An active teenager involved in many sports, Terry was only 18 years old when he was diagnosed with bone cancer. On 9 March 1977 a tumor in his right leg was diagnosed as malignant. Four days later his leg was amputated six inches above the knee. The night before his operation, Terry read an article about an amputee who had competed in the New York Marathon. Indirectly that story, along with Terry's observations of the intense suffering of cancer patients, set the stage for what would ultimately become the most important decision of his young life.
The 16 months of follow-up treatment marked Terry irreversibly. Two years after his operation, Terry started a running regimen. Terry trained for 15 months, running 3,159 miles, running until his stump was raw and bleeding, running every day for 101 days, until he could run 23 miles a day. He took one day off at Christmas, only because his mother asked him. When Terry told his mother, Betty, that he intended to run across Canada, in her no-nonsense way she told him he was crazy. He said he was going to run no matter what she thought. Then Betty told her husband Rolly, and he, knowing his son so well, simply said, "When?"
Curly haired, good looking and sunburned Terry was strong, willful and stubborn. Wearing a prosthesis, he began his run 12 April 1980 at St. John's, Newfoundland. Enthusiasm soon grew, and the money collected along his route began to mount. He ran 43 kilometers a day through Canada's Atlantic provinces, Quebec and Ontario. It was a journey that Canadians never forgot and people everywhere watched the news for Terry’s daily progress, cheering him on. They wept as he ran by, fists clenched, eyes focused on the road ahead, his awkward double-step and hop sounding down the highway, the set of his jaw, unflinching, without compromise. The look of courage. As a woman in Toronto, Canada's largest city said, "He makes you believe in the human race again."
On September 1st, however, Fox was forced to stop the run near Thunder Bay, Ontario. After his first 18 miles he started coughing and felt a pain in his chest. Terry knew how to cope with pain. He'd run through it as he always had before; he'd simply keep going until the pain went away. It did not go away; cancer had spread to his lungs. He had been running for 143 days and had covered 5373 km (3339 mi). Before he flew back to BC for treatment Terry said, "I’m going to do my very best. I’ll fight. I promise I won’t give up."
On 18 September 1980, Terry Fox became the youngest Companion of the Order of Canada in a special ceremony in his hometown of Port Coquitlam, BC. On 21 October 1980, he was awarded British Columbia's highest civilian award – The Order of the Dogwood, and on 22 November 1980, The American Cancer Society presented Terry with their highest award: The Sword of Hope. Other awards and commendations poured in, acknowledging Terry’s dedication and courage.
After treatment with chemotherapy and interferon , he died only a few months later in a Vancouver, B.C hospital 28 June 1981, 4:45 AM, Vancouver, B.C. age 22.
There was nation-wide mourning. Flags were flown at half-mast. But people didn't forget him and his story didn't end with his death. Since his death, Terry Fox Runs have been held annually in Canada, the United States, and many other countries to raise money for cancer research. In little more than a decade, Terry's Marathon of Hope has raised an estimated $250 million worldwide for cancer research.