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Betty Fox, cancer crusader, dies

Betty Fox died at 8:25 this morning. - Tri-City News file photo
Betty Fox died at 8:25 this morning.
— image credit: Tri-City News file photo

Betty Fox, mother of Terry Fox of Port Coquitlam, died Friday morning.

This statement was issued by the Fox family this morning.:

It is with considerable sadness that we share that our wife, mother and grandmother died at 8:25am (PT) this morning. Betty/Mom passed away peacefully surrounded by love.

Betty was comfortable the last few weeks and months of her life, was always full of wit and rarely alone.

Our wife and mom is now with Terry and joins other dear family members that predeceased her.

We have greatly appreciated the privacy granted to our family since Betty's illness was shared and are hoping it continues at this difficult time.

Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore said news of Betty's death has saddened everyone at city hall.

Moore's father coached Terry when he was in high school and has been close with the Fox family ever since.

"It is incredibly sad," he said. "What Betty has meant for the Terry Fox Foundation — she has been the backbone to drive Terry's legacy."

Moore said it was too early to say how Betty will be honoured. On Friday flags at city hall were flown at half-mast.

Fox family friend and Paralympian Rick Hansen, whose Man in Motion Tour to raise money for spinal cord injury research was inspired by Terry's Marathon of Hope, released this statement Friday:

It is with a heavy heart that I mourn the loss of my dear friend, Betty Fox. My deepest sympathy goes out to Rolly, Fred, Darrell and Judi during this time.

Betty was a remarkable woman, who will be sorely missed. Her enthusiasm and compassion were infectious, and her tireless dedication to pursuing Terry’s dream inspired millions to believe in a world without cancer. Betty was a devoted community leader whose accomplishments and impact are a true testament to the power of one individual, and the influence they can have on the lives of others.

It brings me comfort to know that Betty’s legacy will live on through the vital and courageous work of the Terry Fox Foundation. I believe her greatest wish would be for Canadians and people around the world to continue the passionate and dedicated pursuit of a world free of cancer.

The course of Betty's life changed dramatically when, in 1977, her son's leg was amputated due to osteogenic sarcoma.

She supported Terry through he Marathon of Hope, following every step of the 143 day run.

Following her son's death in 1981 Betty was instrumental in launching the annual Terry Fox Run, and has since been involved in all aspects of the Terry Fox Foundation, protecting her son's name and image, particularly from commercialization.

For the last 30 years she has shared her son's story with people across the country, speaking to more than 400,000 school children alone.

Last year Betty took part in the 2010 Olympic Games opening ceremonies, acting as a flag bearer.

She and her husband Rolly Fox have three other children: Fred, Darrell and Judith and nine grandchildren.

The Fox family has asked the public to respect their privacy at this time. Those who wish to share messages about Betty may do so at the Terry Fox Foundation website here.

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