The family of iconic runner Terry Fox is lending more than 200,000 items related to his 1980 Marathon of Hope for an exhibition at the future Canadian Museum of History.

The showcase of the huge private collection will open in April 2015 to coincide with the 35th anniversary of Fox's cross-country fundraising run for cancer research.

The items include Fox's own Marathon of Hope T-shirt, the jug he filled from the Atlantic Ocean when he started his trek and a Team Canada hockey jersey given to him by Bobby Orr.

During his run, Fox received countless letters from schoolchildren and some of them will also be on display.

Fox lost a leg to cancer when he was 18 and three years later took up the marathon on a prosthetic limb. His distinctive, hobbling gait became a symbol of stubborn determination and courage.

He started his run in April 1980, dipping his leg in the ocean at St. John's. The effort ended 147 days and 5,373 kilometres later outside Thunder Bay, Ont. when his cancer returned and forced him to abandon his project.

He was showered with honours. He was the youngest person ever named a companion of the Order of Canada. He was given the Lou Marsh Award for 1980 as the nation's top athlete.

He died in June 1981, aged 22.

The private collection is being developed into an exhibition with the Department of Canadian Heritage and will be displayed at what is now the Canadian Museum of Civilization, soon to beĀ renamed the Canadian Museum of History.

A travelling version of the exhibition will also be developed, and some of the key documents in the Terry Fox Collection will be digitized.