YEAR IN REVIEW: World says goodbye to Betty
The year 2011 was marked with sadness when a beloved mother and neighbour was killed in a tragic traffic accident and the Fox family lost the indomitable Betty Fox. However, spirits were lifted when a new memorial to Terry Fox was unveiled at B.C. Place Stadium.
Almost 30 years to the day after a memorial was held at a Port Coquitlam church for Terry Fox, friends, family and dignitaries gathered at the same place to honour another member of his family.
Betty Fox, a prominent figure in her son’s legacy, died unexpectedly on June 17 at the age of 73, leaving behind her husband Rolly, her children and grandchildren.
The Fox family was thrust into the spotlight in 1980 when Terry, who had lost a leg to cancer at the age of 18, decided to make his cross-Canada Marathon of Hope with the intention of collecting $1 from every Canadian for cancer research. He stopped his quest after 143 days and 5,373 km and died nine months later at the age of 22.
Since his death in 1981, the Terry Fox Foundation, with Betty as a director, has raised more than $500 million and annual runs are held around the world in Terry’s honour.
Betty met Rolly in Winnipeg, Man, where they started their family. The couple had three boys — Fred, Terry and Darrell — and a daughter Judith before moving to B.C. in 1966.
They initially settled in Surrey, renting a small home near the rail yard where Rolly worked before buying their own place in Port Coquitlam.
Today, people from all over the Lower Mainland flock to PoCo to participate in the Hometown Run and Betty was known to speak at the event.
Last year, in the lead-up to the 30th anniversary of her son’s aborted trek across Canada, Betty was honoured as one of the flag carriers at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics opening ceremonies.