As it Happened: The Archive Edition - The Marathon Episode
In December 1980 — just months after his run came to an abrupt end in Thunder Bay, ON, due to a return of his cancer — As it Happens host Barbara Frum spoke with Fox from his home in Port Coquitlam, BC. Here is some of that conversation.
Barbara Frum: Terry, how are things going for you?
Terry Fox: Not too bad. I'm feeling pretty good. Looking forward to Christmas.
"No matter what happens to me, things are gonna be OK. It doesn't matter whether the tumours have spread or not, because either way I'm gonna turn out a winner." - Terry Fox, after ending his Marathon of Hope
BF: How has your chemotherapy gone, Terry?
TF: Well, I've had six treatments so far, and right now nothing's changed from the last report that we had. The right tumour's shrunk and the one in my left lung hasn't really changed too much.
TF: I can't pinpoint one thing, because there's been so many things — things like the telethon, y'know. I'll never forget that night when I was watching it, the money that was raised off the telethon. Every day I got all kinds of mail, and I always read every letter that I get. And the kinds of things that people say to encourage me and support me really helped me out psychologically, because I know there's so many people pulling for me. And that just makes it easier to go from day to day.
I also — I do have a belief in God, and no matter what happens to me, things are gonna be OK. It doesn't matter whether the tumours have spread or not, because either way I'm gonna turn out a winner. I'm either gonna go to heaven, or I'm gonna continue doing what I am right now. Things are just really positive right now. I'm working for the Cancer Society, and I'm feeling good. And I'm getting out and doing things and just being really active. And not dwelling on the fact that there is uncertainty, and I'm not sure about everything — and just thinking positive. That's the way you gotta take it.
Nobody in Canada would want a united Canada more than me. And to hear from people that I've had a part in that, that makes me feel really good.- Terry Fox
BF: I realize that fighting cancer is your uppermost thought, but what you've done for this country's sense of itself, and what its people can be — I hope people have made that clear to you too.
BF: Terry, the award for outstanding athlete of the year —
TF: People don't know how much that award meant to me.
"I am an athlete. I have been all my life. And I don't think that was a question, because on my run across Canada I ran for five months in a row, 26 miles a day.- Terry Fox
BF: Well, I'd like you to talk about that, 'cause they're saying this guy's not just a cancer sufferer, he is an athlete...
BF: ...which is what you were trying to say all along.
TF: I am an athlete. I have been all my life. And I know there was — among a lot of sports writers and sports people in Canada — a lot of controversy [as to] whether they could classify me as an athlete or not. And I don't think that was a question, because on my run across Canada I ran for five months in a row, 26 miles a day. And you don't do that and not be an athlete. I think the question was whether I was the number one athlete in Canada or not — if what I did was the best athletic feat. And maybe it wasn't. There might have been a thousand people who had a better athletic feat than what I did. So for me, just the fact that they gave Canadian Athlete of the Year — and also I was voted third in the Male Athlete of the Year — the fact that some people did consider what I did an athletic feat, that really makes me feel good.
BF: Terry I'm glad that there's so much support for you, and that that's of some help to you. Because you deserve it.
TF: Thank you very much.
You can hear more of Barbara Frum's December 23, 1980 interview with Terry Fox — as well as the following stories, on this week's 'Marathon' episode of "As it Happened: The Archive Edition":
- An emotional Bill Vigars — who travelled with Terry Fox for the last half of his run — speaks with As it Happens from Thunder Bay as Terry Fox announces the end of his Marathon of Hope
- Catherine Dickson of PEI got on the wrong bus to participate in a fundraising walk — and wound up completing a full marathon by mistake
- A 1986 interview with the organizer, timekeeper, and official of the second-annual Maggot Marathon in Sealey Lake, Montana
- In trying to explain how to win a non-stop, eight-an-a-half hour laughathon, "Laughing" Linda Lutz was at a loss for words. But her response rang loud and clear