After Terry Fox lost his right leg to cancer in 1977 he decided if he was going to go on living that he was going to change something - he was going to make a difference. At age 18, he set out to do the impossible: run 5,300 miles across his native country of Canada, one five-hour marathon at a time.
While in the hospital, Terry was so overcome by the suffering of other cancer patients, many of them young children that he decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He would call his journey the Marathon of Hope. It was a journey Canadians never forgot.
During the spring and summer of 1980, on one good leg and one prosthetic leg, Terry Fox ran more than halfway across Canada, a total of 3,339 miles, logging nearly a marathon a day over 143 days. Terry started his run in St. John’s, Newfoundland on April 12, 1980 with little fanfare. Although it was difficult to garner attention in the beginning, enthusiasm soon grew, and the money collected along his route began to mount. Through his Marathon of Hope he raised more than $23 million for cancer research.
On the 143rd day, Terry was forced to stop; the cancer that took his leg had spread to his lungs and would eventually take his life in the summer of 1981 at age 22. The heroic Canadian was gone, but his legacy was just beginning.
To date, over $600 million has been raised worldwide for cancer research in Terry's name through the annual Terry Fox Run, held across Canada and around the world.
Terry’s story is yet another example of the power of one and the willingness to step out and act!