Terry Fox, on his Marathon of Hope run across Canada, days before he had to end it in September 1980. (Canadian Press)

No one is ever too old to remember–and honour–Terry Fox


It’s been 38 years now–the spring and summer of 1980–that Terry Fox first won our attention with his unlikely and gutsy run that took him half-way across the country–a run he had to cut short because he could no longer physically produce the equivalent of a marathon every day to raise money for cancer research.

Fred Fox, left, and his kid brother Terry horse around at home a bit before Terry won the hearts of Canadians and others around the world. (Courtesy Fred Fox)

Fox was doing all this on one leg and heart of a lion–a combination he parlayed into 143 days and 5,373 kilometres before he was forced to stop near Thunder Bay, Ontario because of the ill-effects of the cancer from which he suffered.

It had spread to his lungs.

Less than a year later he was dead.

He was just out of his teens then.

Judith Fox, Terry’s sister, stands next to the image of the Canada 150 stamp that showcases her iconic brother. (Martin Jones/CBC

Had he lived, he would have turned 60 this past July, a fact that many, many Canadians might find extremely hard to believe.

Because Terry Fox has never really left our collective consciousness.

The young man we all remember left an extraordinary legacy.

How big a legacy?

How about Will Dwyer?

Will Dwyer has now raised over $800,000 in
Terry Fox’s honour. (courtesy: Robert Dwyer)

Dwyer is 93 now, but he too was deeply touched all those years ago by Fox’s heroic efforts.

So much so that Dwyer has personally raised over $800,000 in and around the Barrie, Ontario area.

That’s $800,000 single-handedly.

The older Dwyer gets, the tougher it is to make it up the stairs to homes housing potential donors, but he carries on.

I spoke to by phone at his home in Barrie on Thursday.

The first Terry Fox Run was held at more than 760 sites in Canada and around the world in 1981, the summer he died.

At 93, Will Dwyer is still out there seeking pledges and donartions. (courtesy: Robert Dwyer)

The event attracted 300,000 participants and raised $3.5 million.

That, of course, was just the start.

Runs in his honour are now held annually in countries around the world.

Over $715 million has been raised to support cancer research in Terry’s name.

This year’s runs take place Sunday.

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