The year was 1980, and Terry Fox was about to change the world.
Embarking on his Marathon of Hope, Fox had big ideas, but even he would have struggled to understand just how much of an impact his efforts would have for years to come.
Fox ran an astounding 42 kilometres a day for 143 days before lung cancer forced him to stop.He died a few months later at just 22-years-old.
Fox set out to make a statement about what it takes to beat cancer after the deadly disease claimed his right leg, and though he never made it across Canada as he hoped he would, he succeeded more than he could ever have known.
Now 26 years later, one man’s dream has become a global fight against cancer.
Today the Terry Fox Run is held in over 50 countries around the world and in Canada from coast to coast.
In fact, thousands of people throughout Toronto and Canada took part in the Terry Fox Run Sunday to raise money for cancer research, and for most, Fox’s spirit is alive and well.
“I think it was totally amazing that a young kid could start running across the country and basically created such a momentum to raise money…it’s incredible,” said participant Kevin Allen, a father whose four-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer after she was born with a lump on her leg.
To date, the Terry Fox Run has raised over $400 million to fight cancer, and will continue to support the battle against the disease, one step at a time.
Here’s a look at some of the milestones in the Canadian hero’s life:
July 28, 1958: Terrence Stanley Fox is born in Winnipeg, Man.
March 9, 1977: Fox, 18, is diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma, a type of bone cancer, and has his right leg amputated above the knee.
February 1979: Fox starts training for his cross-Canada marathon.
April 12, 1980: Fox begins his Marathon of Hope in St. John’s, Nfld.
Sept. 1, 1980: After 143 days and 5,373 kilometres, Fox is forced to stop his run just outside Thunder Bay, Ont., as doctors determine cancer has spread to his lungs.
Sept. 18, 1980: Fox becomes the youngest Companion to the Order of Canada.
Oct. 21, 1980: Fox is awarded British Columbia’s Order of the Dogwood.
Nov. 22, 1980: The American Cancer Society presents Fox with their highest award: the Sword of Hope.
Dec. 18, 1980: Canadian sports editors vote Terry Fox the winner of the Lou Marsh Award for outstanding athletic accomplishment.
Feb. 1, 1981: Fox’s goal of raising $1 from every Canadian to fight cancer is realized.
June 28, 1981: Fox dies at age 22.
Aug. 29, 1981: Fox is posthumously inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
Sept. 13, 1981: The first Terry Fox Run is held at more than 760 sites in Canada and around the world. The event attracts 300,000 participants and raises $3.5 million.
For more on Terry Fox and the foundation in his name, click here.