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41 years ago today, Terry Fox began his Marathon of Hope

Last Updated Apr 12, 2021 at 12:59 pm MDT

FILE: Terry Fox running the Marathon of Hope. (Courtesy the Terry Fox Foundation)
Summary

On this day in 1980, Terry Fox dipped his right leg into the Atlantic Ocean and began his attempt to run across Canada


'The first words that Terry wrote in his journal ... were 'Today is the day it all begins,'" his brother Fred Fox said


Since Fox died, $850 million has been raised for cancer research


VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – History was made on this day back in 1980. Exactly 41 years ago, Terry Fox began his Marathon of Hope in an effort to raise money for the battle against cancer.

His brother, Fred Fox, says no one could have imagined the impact of Terry’s determination.

“The very first words that Terry wrote in his journal on April 12 [1980] were ‘Today is the day it all begins.’ He could never have known, could never have imagined, what those words would mean 41 years later,” he said.

Terry’s trek began in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, where he dipped his right leg into the Atlantic Ocean. He had planed to run across Canada, but his journey ended near Thunder Bay, Ontario when his cancer returned. He died the next year.

Related article: ‘One day, your way’ Canadians lace up for virtual Terry Fox Run

In light of the current pandemic, Fred Fox says there’s something we can all learn from his brother’s resilience.

“He didn’t always have great days to run in, when he was running the Marathon of Hope. It was cold in Newfoundland and heat and humidity in southern Ontario. But it didn’t stop Terry,” he explained.

Fred Fox says $850 million has been raised for cancer research in the years since Terry’s death, and his family is grateful.

“Throughout B.C. and across Canada [people] have made his legacy something that has impacted lives. We owe so much to so many people across Canada, young and older, who have kept this thing going. So, thank you,” he said.

Terry Fox died in 1981. He was 22 years old.

To this day, runs take place on an annual basis in schools and communities across Canada in honour of his legacy.