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EDITORIAL: Terry Fox continues to change the world

Before there was a Terry Fox Run, there was Terry Fox, a young man with an audacious dream and the resolve to chase it. 
terry fox quilt
Leigh Bishop designed and made the quilt with T-shirts from previous Terry Fox events.

It was 43 years ago this month that Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope was cut short, the return of his cancer forcing him to abandon a cross-country odyssey that had spanned 143 days and more than 5,000 kilometres. 

Given it’s been more than four decades since that summer when a 21-year-old from Port Coquitlam, B.C. captivated a nation with his dream and determination, most Canadians these days recognize Fox for the charitable run held in his honour every September. The local edition takes place this Sunday morning beginning at the Crystal Shores Beach House. 

Before there was a Terry Fox Run, however, there was Terry Fox, a young man with an audacious dream and the resolve to chase it. 

Having lost a leg to cancer when he was just 18 years old, Fox didn’t let that setback stop him. In fact, he used it as motivation to undertake something so large, so unimaginable, that not even those at the Canadian Cancer Society thought it was possible when he presented the idea to them. 

Undaunted, Fox dipped his artificial leg in the Atlantic Ocean at St. John’s, N.L. on April 12, 1980 to begin his Marathon of Hope, which saw him run a marathon a day for almost five months in an effort to raise money for cancer research. He ran to stop the suffering of others, the faces he had seen in cancer wards while undergoing treatment. 

Fox never made it to the Pacific Ocean, stopping his epic journey just outside of Thunder Bay, Ont., nor did he live to see his 23rd birthday, but that didn’t prevent him from accomplishing something extraordinary: The Terry Fox Run has become the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research, having raised in excess of $850 million over the years. 

Terry Fox is a true Canadian hero, a real-life example that those with big dreams can change the world.