Terry Fox Facts

- Terrence Stanley Fox was born July 28, 1958 in Winnipeg, MB. In 1966, he moved with his parents, Betty and Rolly, his brothers Fred and Darrel and his sister Judith to BC, where the family settled in Port Coquitlam.

- Terry's ambition was to play basektball, even though his junior high school coach told him he was too short and advised him to try out for the wrestling team instead. He ignored the coach's advice and made the basketball team. In his senior year, he was named 'Co-Athlete of the Year.'

- Terry enrolled at Simon Fraser University in 1976 to study Kinesiology (the science of body movement) and to pursue his dream of playing university basketball. He planned to become a Physical Education teacher. 

- In March 1977, Terry was informed he had a malignant tumour in his right leg. He was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma, a bone cancer, and three days later his leg was amputated six inches above the knee. Three weeks later, he was fitted for his first artifical leg. 

- While in hospital, Terry read about a one-legged athlete who ran the New York City Marathon. "I can do that," he thought, and soon began his dream of running across Canada, motivated by the courage of others undergoing painful cancer treatments. As he wrote in his letters to companies asking them to sponsor his run: "There were the faces with the brave smiles, and the ones who had given up smiling. There were the feelings of hopeful denial, and the feelings of despair...I could not leave, knowing these faces and feelings would still exist, even though I'd be set free of mine. Somewhere the hurting must stop..."

- In February 1979, Terry began training for his Marathon of Hope, a cross-Canada run to raise money for cancer research. During his training, he ran 5,373 kms (3,339 miles).

- In August of that same year, Terry entered a marathon in Prince George, BC and ran the whole course - more than 43 kms (26 miles) - finishing 10 minutes after the last two-legged runner.

- In October 1979, Terry enlisted the support of the Canadian Cancer Society to sponsor his Marathon of Hope. "I'm not a dreamer," he wrote, "and I'm not saying this will initiate any kind of definitive cure for cancer, but I believe in miracles. I have to." Ford, Imperial Oil and Adidas were among the companies who came to his support, providing a van, gas money and running shoes. The Fox family held dances and garage sales to raise money for Terry's living expenses along the way.

- On April 12, 1980 Terry dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of St. John's NF and set out on his odyssey. He ran an average of 43 kms - the equivalent of one marathon a day - through six provinces, despite howling winds, pouring rain, near-collisions with cars and the blisters and bleeding caused by his artificial leg. He planned to be back home in BC by November.

- On September 1 1980, after 143 days and 5,373 kms (3,339 miles) Terry had to stop running outside of Thunder Bay ON. The cancer had spread to his lungs.

- The next day, Mr Isadore Sharp, Chairman and President of the Four Seasons Hotels, contacted the Fox family with a commitment to organize an annual fund-raising run in Terry's name to continue the fight against cancer. One year later the hotel chain, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Track and Field Association and Amateur Sport Canada began planning the first Terry Fox Run to continue Terry's dream of finding a cure for cancer.

- In a special ceremony in his hometown of Port Coquitlam, BC, Terry became the youngest Companion to the Order of Canada. His senior high school was renamed 'Terry Fox Secondary School' in his honour.

- In February 1981, Terry's dream of raising one dollar for every Canadian towards the fight against cancer was realized: The national population was 24.1 million and the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope fund totaled $24.17 million.

- On June 28 1981, after undergoing chemotherapy and interferon treatment, Terry Fox died at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster BC. He was one month shy of his 23rd birthday.

- On September 19 2001, a Terry Fox memorial statue was erected at Simon Fraser University, home of the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award Program, in honour of one of its most famous students.

About Terry Fox
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About Terry Fox
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Our Vision

The Terry Fox Humanitarian Award Program aims to honour the spirit of Terry Fox, one of Canada’s greatest heroes, by encouraging Canadian youth who strive to emulate Terry Fox’s courage and determination by providing their communities and those in need with humanitarian service.

Terry Fox Statue at SFU
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