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Terry Fox: Day 129 near Wawa, Ont.

The Story


Whether he likes it or not, Terry Fox has become an icon, celebrated from coast to coast. He's currently running through Wawa, Ontario, but residents of his home province of British Columbia are already gearing up for a Terry Fox frenzy. To help collect money for cancer research, his face adorns grocery bags, T-shirts and donation boxes province-wide. But Fox refuses to endorse any product or profit personally. "I think that it would ruin what I am doing," he tells CBC Television in this clip. The commercial aspect of Terry's odyssey has grown too big to ignore. The Canadian Cancer Society is working on establishing guidelines for promotions and fundraising schemes. For his party, Terry remains cautious of being exploited by commercial interests. "The only thing I want to sponsor is cancer, and cancer can be beaten," he tells CBC. "Not any other product. And I hope nobody tries to use me, because I won't let them."

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Aug. 18, 1980
Guests: Lynn Bryan, Terry Fox
Host: Knowlton Nash
Reporter: Bob Gillingham
Duration: 2:39

Did You know?


• With the exception of his donated vans (which sported the name of the dealer) Terry Fox eschewed corporate ties to his Marathon of Hope, insisting that the only beneficiary should be the Canadian Cancer Society. He refused to wear any clothing that had a logo. Throughout the run, Terry sported only his "Marathon of Hope" T-shirts (often with various locations or statements ironed on to them).

• Terry's aversion to logos created problems when his clothing wore out. Unbranded clothing was hard to find on the road, and Darrell Fox said Terry refused to spend any of the donated money on himself. So Terry's family, mainly his mother Betty, continually mended his road-weary socks, shorts and track pants.

• Terry was particularly fond of one ratty sock, which he wore on his artificial leg for the entire Marathon of Hope and for three months after it ended.

• Even after Terry's death, the Fox family continued to observe his strict rules about sponsorship and the use of his name. Working with the Terry Fox Foundation, the Fox family always turned down commercial offers from companies seeking to produce items such as Terry Fox T-shirts, pins and spoons.

• In 2005 the Royal Canadian Mint issued a dollar coin featuring an iconic image of Terry Fox running across northern Ontario. It is the first Canadian circulation coin to feature anyone other than the monarch. The mint donated $20,000 to the Terry Fox Foundation, and held "coin exchanges" where attendees could obtain a new coin in exchange for an old one, and donate the old one to the foundation.

• Terry's face also adorns two Canada Post stamps. The first was issued on April 13, 1982 — the first time that Canada Post issued a commemorative stamp without waiting until 10 years after the death of the honouree. A second Terry Fox stamp was issued on Jan. 17, 2000, as part of the Millennium Collection of important Canadians of the 20th century.

• As Terry approached Wawa, Ont., he had to run up Montreal River Hill, a notorious three-kilometre uphill climb. The shirt Terry wore that day read, "Montreal River Here I Come" on the front, and "I've Got You Beat" on the back.

• According to Douglas Coupland's book Terry, it was in White River, Ont., that outsiders got the first inkling that Terry Fox's health was declining. A documentary film crew was reviewing footage of Terry they had just shot, and noticed the runner had a persistent dry hacking cough. They figured Terry was coming down with a cold.

• Terry also experienced a bout of tendinitis in his ankle. He had been icing it down and continuing running, but it was slow to heal. On the advice of his doctor, he agreed to a hospital visit in Sault Ste. Marie, where he was given painkillers and told to rest for 36 hours before continuing. Terry was relieved. He had feared it was a stress fracture that would delay his run for months.


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