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1981: Terry Fox dies

The night before his right leg was amputated, Terry Fox read about an amputee who ran the New York City Marathon. The article inspired Terry's Marathon of Hope, an incredible cross-Canada run on an artificial leg to raise money for cancer research. Terry was forced to end his run when his cancer returned. He died on June 28, 1981, but his legacy lives on in the annual Terry Fox Run.

One month before his 23rd birthday, Terry Fox dies peacefully at the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C. Terry's fundraising Marathon of Hope ended 10 months ago, when the cancer that claimed his leg spread to his lungs.
"Terry has completed the last kilometre of his marathon," says Deputy Director of Nursing Alison Sinson. "He has left us a legacy of hope, which I think will live and become a part of our nation's heritage."
• Terry Fox's "Marathon of Hope" was a cross-Canada run on an artificial leg to raise money for cancer research. Terry was forced to end his run near Thunder Bay, Ont., when his cancer returned.
• Terry Fox slipped into a coma and died on June 28, 1981 at 4:35 a.m. Deputy Director of Nursing Alison Sinson, who knew Terry as a patient for over four years, stayed in hospital with him for a week without going home.

• Doctors decided not to use artificial life support "so Terry could have dignity in death as he had in life."

• The flags on all Canadian federal buildings were lowered to half-mast from Terry's death until his funeral. This honour is normally reserved only for distinguished statesmen and politicians.

• Shortly before he died Terry said, "Maybe now instead of being afraid and saying 'Look how hard Terry tried and he still got cancer', instead people will say 'look at the effort he put in and he died of cancer - we're really going to have to try hard in order to beat it, harder than we ever have before.'"

• Terry's legacy lives on in the annual Terry Fox Run. By 2003, almost $300 million had been raised for cancer research in Terry's name.
Also on June 28:
1914: Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife are assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia. The event triggers the First World War.
1968: The Husky Tower is officially opened. The 190-metre structure is the tallest of its kind in North America. Husky Oil Canada and Marathon Realty developed it. In 1971 it was renamed the Calgary Tower.
1982: Igor Gouzenko, the former Soviet embassy cipher clerk in Ottawa, dies in Mississauga, Ont. His 1945 defection and revelation of a Soviet spy ring in Canada created a sensation and forced him into a life of hiding.
Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: June 28, 1981
Guest(s): Ladislav Antonik, Alison Sinson
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Sheldon Turcott
Duration: 2:12

Last updated: January 31, 2012

Page consulted on March 28, 2012

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