Terrance Stanley "Terry" Fox, CC (July 28, 1958 - June
28, 1981) was a Canadian humanitarian, athlete, and cancer treatment
activist. He is considered one of Canada's greatest heroes of the 20th
Terry Fox was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and was raised in
Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada. After losing his leg at age
18 to osteogenic sarcoma, the young athlete decided to run from coast
to coast in order to raise money for cancer research. Beginning by
dipping his artificial leg in the Atlantic Ocean at St. John's, Newfoundland
on April 12, 1980, he aimed to dip it again in the Pacific Ocean at
Vancouver, British Columbia. His pace was daunting. He ran an average
of 42 km a day - the distance of a typical marathon. The Guinness
Book of World Records lists Rick Worley as the marathon record holder:
he ran 200 straight marathons, but over 159 consecutive weekends, not
days. No one had ever done anything similar to the task Fox was undertaking.
He could not finish his run, however, as the cancer spread to his
lungs and he was forced to abandon the course on September 1, 1980
just west of Thunder Bay after running 5373 km over 143 straight days
through Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick,
Quebec, and Ontario. He died several months afterwards at the age of
22. However, his Marathon of Hope captured the nation's attention.
He was proclaimed a national hero, and the annual Terry Fox Run events
organized all across Canada, in the United States, and in other countries
around the world, have raised more than $360 million for cancer research.
Terry Fox's heroism has inspired other Canadians to similar feats
in the name of charitable causes. This has included Steve Fonyo,
another runner who also had a leg amputated owing to cancer and who
retraced the same route as Fox and then proceeded to complete the
run to the west coast in the name of cancer research. A close friend
of Fox's, Rick Hansen, a paraplegic athlete, was also inspired to
make his own trek around the world in his wheelchair to raise funds
for spinal cord injury research.
His story is dramatized in the 1983 HBO TV movie, The Terry Fox Story,
which the Fox family always has criticized as being too negative as
it depicts Terry as having a fiery temper. In 2005 a new movie produced
by the CTV television network retold his story, titled simply Terry.
Fox was portrayed by Shawn Ashmore.
Today, artifacts such as his artificial limb are preserved by the
BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.
In a public opinion poll Terry Fox was voted the most famous Canadian
of the 20th century. He was voted number two on The Greatest Canadian