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Terry Fox Marathon of Hope remembered by his brother

Forty years ago Fox, a Port Coquitlam resident, set out on his Marathon of Hope, today his efforts have helped raise $800 million for cancer research

When Port Coquitlam native Terry Fox dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean in St. John's, Newfoundland on Apriil 12,, 1980, he had no idea his Marathon of Hope would reach people with cancer all over the world.

And now, as the world needs an extra dose of selflessness and hope, the 40th anniversary of that quiet and reflective moment for Terry should inspire us all to do what we can to help others, says his brother.

“When he left Newfoundland for his Marathon of Hope, he wasn’t doing it to be to be famous, to be a hero - he wanted to find a cure for cancer,” recalled brother Fred Fox in an interview with the News. 

At the time, Fox was an unknown entity, with a small crowd to witness the event and his family back home in Port Coquitlam hoping to watch the beginning of the Marathon of Hope on the 6 p.m. news.

“It was an amazing day, and period of time,” said Fred, who is 14 months older than Terry.

For some of people's thoughts and memories, visit here.

For a video and to donate visit here.

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Terry didn’t complete his cross-Canada run, sadly; it ended it 143 days later in Thunder Bay, Ont., because cancer had spread to his lungs. Terry died on June 28, 1981.

But his heroic effort to raise money for cancer research inspired many, with $800 million raised in the intervening years, according to Fred.

Now, as the 40th year anniversary comes and goes this week, Fred is hoping that people will use Terry’s selflessness to inspire their own caring — to stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19— and to contribute to the cause that so motivated young Terry.

“Unfortunately, people are still diagnosed with cancer every day — that was Terry’s mandate to raise money for cancer research. It’s tough for so many people out there, but it’s still important to give if they can.”

The start of Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope, as posted on his brother's Facebook page.
The start of Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope, as posted on his brother Darrell Fox's Facebook page. - Darrell Fox/Facebook

Fox said he hopes the annual Terry Fox Runs will go ahead in September, as planned, but in the meantime, run organizers are providing each other with plenty of support — virtually.

On Saturday, 140 run organizers connected via the Zoom video conference platform to share news and hope.

“It was a great distraction for them and great to see people that they know. Everybody was wearing their Terry Fox t-shirts, everybody is excited and hopefully soon people will be organizing Terry Fox runs,” Fred said.

While it’s true most people are focused on their own family and finances right now, Free said it’s important to remember others, as his brother did so many years ago when he started on his Marathon of Hope journey.

“As we mark yesterday, April 12, and what Terry started —Terry said in his journal that evening after he ran, ‘today is the day it all begins’ — little did he know what he was beginning so many years ago — (and today) there are so many volunteers, people who have dedicated their time and donated to cancer. All those people need to take credit for where we are today.”

For some of people's thoughts and memories, visit here.