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Terry Fox

Terry Fox

Canadian athlete, humanitarian, and cancer research activist

Terrance Stanley Fox CC OD (July 28, 1958 – June 28, 1981) was a Canadian athlete, humanitarian, and cancer research activist. In 1980, with one leg having been amputated due to cancer, he embarked on an east to west cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Although the spread of his cancer eventually forced him to end his quest after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 mi), and ultimately cost him his life, his efforts resulted in a lasting, worldwide legacy. The annual Terry Fox Run, first held in 1981, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research; over C$800 million has been raised in his name as of April 2020.

Fox was a distance runner and basketball player for his Port Coquitlam high school, now named after him, and Simon Fraser University. His right leg was amputated in 1977 after he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, though he continued to run using an artificial leg. He also played wheelchair basketball in Vancouver, winning three national championships.

In 1980, he began the Marathon of Hope, a cross-country run to raise money for cancer research. He hoped to raise one dollar from each of Canada's 24 million people. He began with little fanfare from St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, in April and ran the equivalent of a full marathon every day. Fox had become a national star by the time he reached Ontario; he made numerous public appearances with businessmen, athletes, and politicians in his efforts to raise money. He was forced to end his run outside Thunder Bay when the cancer spread to his lungs. His hopes of overcoming the disease and completing his run ended when he died nine months later.

Fox was the youngest person named a Companion of the Order of Canada and won the 1980 Lou Marsh Award as the nation's top sportsman. He was named Canada's Newsmaker of the Year in both 1980 and 1981 by The Canadian Press. Considered a national hero, he has had many buildings, statues, roads, and parks named in his honour across the country.


July 28, 1958
Terry Fox was born in Winnipeg.


Further Resources


Great Canadians

Murphy, Angela

June 30, 2005


Coupland, Douglas


Terry Fox: His Story

Scrivener, Leslie

September 1, 2000

"Canadian Idols? CBC's The Greatest Canadian as Celebrity History".

Druick, Zoë; Rak, Julie; Kotsopoulos, Aspa

August 1, 2008


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Brooklyn Neustaeter
December 8, 2020
Adidas has released another pair of limited-edition shoes themed for the 40th anniversary of Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope.
Ian Randall
August 3, 2020
Mail Online
Experts found the bone cancer - an osteosarcoma - in a horned plant-eating dinosaur, Centrosaurus apertus, that lived in Canada during the Cretaceous Period.
Melanie Woods
February 19, 2020
HuffPost Canada
The Bank of Canada is accepting nominations until March 11.
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