British Columbia

Sunday marks 40th anniversary of Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope

Fred Fox plans to get out of bed by 4 a.m. on Sunday and start running shortly after. That's the time his brother, Canadian legend Terry Fox, got up each morning during his Marathon of Hope. 

Terry's brother Fred Fox says April 12 is usually a time of reflection for his family

Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox shown in this undated photo, had his dream of running across the country cut short near Thunder Bay, Ont., when he learned that cancer had spread to his lungs. (Canadian Press)

Fred Fox plans to get out of bed by 4 a.m. on Sunday and start running shortly after. 

No, he won't be chasing the Easter Bunny. That pre-dawn hour is the time his brother, Canadian legend Terry Fox, got up each morning during his Marathon of Hope. 

"Terry had this big dream and all he wanted was to make a difference in other people's lives," Fred Fox told Gloria Macarenko, host of CBC Radio's On the Coast. 

This Sunday marks 40 years since Terry Fox began the Marathon of Hope in St. John's, Newfoundland.

The 21-year-old from Port Coquitlam, B.C., had lost part of his right leg to cancer when he was 18. He planned to run across Canada to raise money for the disease. He ran a marathon every day and made it as far as Thunder Bay, Ont., before the cancer spread to his lungs and he had to stop. 

Terry Fox (centre) with friend Doug Alward (left) and younger brother Darrell Fox (right) with the Van of Hope in 1980. (Submitted by Darrell Fox)

He died before he could complete his journey, but in the process he raised over $24 million. The foundation created in his name has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for cancer research in the four decades since Fox's death.

"Little did he know ... the impact [the Marathon of Hope] would have on cancer research and so many people's lives 40 years later," Fred Fox said.

'Terry still touches so many people'

Today, many Canadians consider Fox a hero. Last January, the Bank of Canada began public consultations for the design of a new $5 note featuring an image of him. 

"A lot of Canadians have expressed that they would love to see that and if it happens it would it would be great," Fred Fox said. "It just shows all of these years later ... that Terry still touches so many people."

Fred Fox told Macarenko that he plans to hit the road for a run on Sunday by 5 a.m., just like his brother would have done so many years ago. 

Normally Fred would gather with his family in St. John's for the anniversary, but because of COVID-19 he plans to run alongside his daughter in Port Coquitlam — from two metres away, of course. 

"It's a time for reflection for us," he said. 

With files from On the Coast

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