British Columbia

Terry Fox Award to recognize courageous Olympic athlete

A new award in the name of Terry Fox has been created to honour the Olympic athlete from any country who displays the most courage, humility and extraordinary athletic ability at the 2010 Winter Games.

A new award in the name of Terry Fox has been created to honour the Olympic athlete from any country who displays the most courage, humility and extraordinary athletic ability at the 2010 Winter Games.

John Furlong, left, stands with Darrell Fox under the statue of Terry Fox, as they announce the Vancouver 2010 Terry Fox Award in Ottawa on Friday. ((Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press) )

The Olympic organizing committee's CEO, John Furlong, said the Vancouver 2010 Terry Fox Award will be awarded at a public ceremony in downtown on the second-last day of the Games, Feb 27.

Furlong made the announcement in Ottawa on Friday next to a countdown clock for the Winter Games and the statue of Fox, the young man with a prosthetic leg who attempted to run across Canada nearly 30 years ago to raise money for cancer research.

"Few people have touched the soul of this great nation like Terry Fox did on his Marathon of Hope in 1980," said Furlong. "This award will be presented to an athlete who embodies the same values that Terry Fox did.

"This athlete will be someone who is the epitome of determination in motion, who pushed on no matter what the pain or obstacles in their path and touched Canada and the world by displaying humility and selflessness in their treatment of others both on and off the field of play — a veritable hero," said Furlong in a statement released on Friday.

The award was endorsed by the Fox family, who were on hand in Ottawa for the announcement.

"We sincerely appreciate the efforts of John Furlong and the VANOC team to acknowledge Terry in 2010 — a year that marks the 30th anniversary of the Marathon of Hope," said his brother, Darrell Fox.

"As a teenager, Terry was an avid athlete in basketball, soccer and rugby and would be proud to be recognized on the world stage as part of the Olympic Winter Games," said Fox.

Fight against cancer inspired Fox to run

In 1977, Terry Fox's right leg was amputated after he was diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of 18.

Terry Fox ran the equivalent of a marathon a day during his Marathon of Hope in 1980. (Canadian Press)

Three years later on April 12, the young man from Port Coquitlam, B.C., dipped his artificial foot in the Atlantic Ocean off St. John's, and began his run west toward home, covering about 42 kilometres each day, in freezing rain, high winds and sometimes snow.

On Sept. 1, after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres, he was forced to stop running near Thunder Bay, Ont., after the cancer spread to his lungs. But his story inspired Canadians to donate $24 million to his run, surpassing his fundraising goals.

Fox died on June 28, 1981, but not before becoming the youngest person ever to be awarded the Order of Canada.

Since that time, nearly $500 million for cancer research has been raised by the Terry Fox Foundation, which continues to hold the annual Terry Fox runs across Canada in his name.

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