Terry Fox the number 1 canadian

Terry fox was a young Canadian who was affected by a dangerous disease called cancer.

Terry fox in his early years

His life of sports

Before he got cancer, he had a fairly good reputation in sports. Of course that all changed once he got sick, and he had to quit. A couple years prior to this, Terry’s favorite sport had become basketball. At this time, he was in grade eight and only five feet tall. But Terry still wanted to make the school basketball team. His friend, Doug Alward had already made the team. This further increased his determination. Unfortunately he was not good enough. The coach told him to take up running instead, but Terry did not give up. The next year he and Doug had both made the team, but only played one minute all year. Throughout the summer he practiced all morning. That year he was a starting guard and was given the athlete of the year award. Thing were looking up, Terry was thinking of playing far into the future. In grade eleven, he was starting guard again and had surpassed Doug in skill. That year he was also awarded the athlete of the year again. Terry was chosen for the junior Varsity basketball team in grade twelve. He was really excited until he started experiencing pain in his right knee, and almost crashed his car because of it. His knee looked perfectly fine so he ignored it. The pain returned that November, so got himself some pain killers believing it was sports related. Early March the pain was so bad he could barely move. The next day he went to his family’s doctor, there he was seen by an orthopedic surgeon who diagnosed him with bone cancer. His dreams of basketball were shattered.

Modern day darrell

Surgery and chemotherapy

After being diagnosed with cancer Terry was surrounded by family members and friends. The only way to survive was to amputate his right leg. The night before the surgery his coach gave him an article about a man with one leg who ran the New York marathon. This inspired Fox to do good things and stay positive. On March 9th 1977, doctors amputated his right leg above the knee at the young age of 18. It took a couple weeks, but eventually Fox was walking again on his new leg. Soon after he was playing golf and other sports like wheelchair basketball. His team, the Cable Cars won the championship that year. Every 3 weeks, Terry would go to the British Columbia cancer control agency to get drugs that help with the destruction of cancer cells. Here Terry met a lot of people who were not as fortunate as him, many were dying. Because he knew what they went through, he felt a lot of sympathy and wanted to help them in some way. This is where the idea of the marathon of hope originated.

Doug Alward and the van he drove behind terry during the Marathon of hope

The Marathon of Hope

Terry trained for days preparing for a race to test his strength. The race was 17 miles long (27 kilometers) and he was against professional athletes. His friend, Doug and brother Darrell also entered with him. Although Terry was in last, he was only 10 minutes behind the next two legged athlete. Impressive for someone like him. He decided to finally set a start date for his marathon, April 1980. When he told his parents about his idea to raise money for Cancer research, his mom was concerned but his dad seemed to go with the idea. Terry’s plan was to run across Canada to raise money to find a cure for Cancer. A long way on foot. He decided he needed to get noticed so he gathered sponsors such as the Canadian Cancer society, War amputations of Canada, the ford motor company, Adidas etc. He was finally prepared to start. With over 5,000 km done well training, he dipped his leg in the Atlantic Ocean near St. Johns Newfoundland on the 12th of April 1980. This marked the start of his run. His friend Doug and brother Darrell drove a van besides him as he ran roughly a marathon a day. The run started off pretty bad. He raised almost no money and only a couple organizations donated. It was the same on Prince Edward Island and in New Brunswick. The run had not even been publicized in Québec and thing received even less money there. It seemed as though he was just a random guy exercising. On a couple occasions he was even almost hit by cars or trucks! Things were looking bleak. Thankfully the Canadian cancer society and other sponsors came to their aid and soon everyone knew about the marathon of hope! He now had police escorts, events, and was gaining more donations than ever. He was even greeted by the prime minister at the time, hockey legends Bobby Orr and Darryl Sittler. However this dream was not to last. He was forced to stop just outside Thunder Bay and was rushed to a hospital, the cancer had returned and invaded his lungs. He died less than a year later. His legacy still lives on as every year most schools still run to raise money for cancer research and try to finish what he started.

This map shows how far terry got before he unfortunately perished.

This is a gIobe I built to show how terry fox's bravery didn't just affect canada but the whole world. Here is me presenting my project and spreading the word.

Hopefully after all you've learned you'll join the run this year and finish the journey Terry fox could not!

This is the letter Terry Fox wrote to the Canadian cancer society to gather there sponsorship

The night before my amputation, my former basketball coach brought me a magazine with an article on an amputee who ran in the New York marathon. It was then I decided to meet this new challenge head on and not only overcome my disability, but conquer it in such a way that I could never look back and say it disabled me. But I soon realised that that would only be half of my quest, for as I went through the 16 months of the physically and emotionally draining ordeal of chemotherapy, I was rudely awakened by the feelings that surrounded and coursed through the Cancer clinic. There were faces with the brave smiles, and the ones who had given up smiling. There were feelings of hopeful denial and the feelings of despair. My quest would not be a selfish one. I could not leave knowing these faces and feelings would still exist, even though I would be set free from mine. Somewhere the hurting must stop... and I was determined to take myself to the limit for this cause… By next April I will be ready to achieve something that for me was once only a distant dream reserved for the world of miracles – to run across Canada to raise money for the fight against cancer. The running I can do, even if I have to crawl every last mile. We need your help. The people in cancer clinics all over the world need people who believe in miracles. I am not a dreamer, and I am not saying that this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer. But I believe in miracles. I have to.

-Terry fox, October 1979

Thank you for reading and I hope to see more participants in the next terry fox runs across the Globe!


Created with images by Bob Linsdell - "Terry Fox Statue, Wellington St, Ottawa (491753)" • SFU - University Communications - "Terry Fox"

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