Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox is shown in a 1981. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/CP)

Terry Fox’s legacy of resilience resonates during COVID-19 crisis, says brother

Fred Fox said his brother’s legacy of resilience has taken on renewed resonance as COVID-19 rages on

It was 41 years ago to the day on Monday that Terry Fox dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean at Cape Spear in St. John’s, Nfld., to start his Marathon of Hope in support of cancer research.

Fox, who lost part of his leg to osteosarcoma at age 18, wasn’t sure how long the cross-country trek would take, his older brother says.

But the young athlete from Port Coquitlam, B.C., knew he had to keep putting one foot in front of the other in order to reach the finish line.

“Terry believed in taking things one step at a time, one day at a time,” said Fred Fox, manager of supporter relations at the Terry Fox Foundation. “And that’s what we’ve all had to do in these troubling times.”

Terry Fox ran close to a marathon a day for 143 days before cancer in his lungs cut his journey short in Thunder Bay, Ont., on Sept. 1, 1980. He died in June the following year, a month shy of his 23rd birthday.

In the decades since his death, Canadians have carried on the activist’s quest through the annual Terry Fox Run to help raise more than $850 million for cancer research, according to the foundation that bears his name.

But Fred Fox said his brother’s legacy of resilience has taken on renewed resonance as the COVID-19 crisis rages on with no end in sight.

“This global pandemic isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. And that’s exactly what Terry did every day,” he said.

“We don’t know how much longer we’re going to be dealing with this COVID-19 pandemic… (But like Terry), we all have to be determined.”

According to the Terry Fox Foundation, more than 650 communities across Canada come together each fall for fundraising runs in support of cancer research.

But last September, organizers had to pivot to a “virtual run,” encouraging people to find pandemic-safe ways to honour Fox’s mission.

Fred Fox said participants’ creative initiatives made the event a “huge success,” although the amount fundraised fell short of previous years.

As the COVID-19 crisis has caused disruptions to cancer care, he said it’s all the more important that Canadians continue to support efforts to fight the disease that touches so many lives.

“What we’re going through has been devastating for so many people,” he said. “But cancer doesn’t take any breaks. And research can’t either.”

Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press

CoronavirusTerry Fox

Just Posted

Chemainus Secondary School 2021 graduate and valedictorian Chayla Pollock receives her certificate from principal Lori Hryniuk. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Valedictorian Pollock’s address to the Class of 2021

Different kind of setting in a classroom for the traditional presentation

Chemainus Secondary School 2021 graduate Nina Bumstead. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Grad ceremony proceeds, with a twist

Red carpet outside works out well for Chemainus Secondary’s Class of 2021

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

Chemainus street signs now contain Hul’qumi’num translations, like this one at the corner of Willow and Legion Streets. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Street signs go up in the Hul’qumi’num language

Chemainus intersections feature direct translations

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

A person stands in a tower on the perimeter of the Number 3 Detention Center in Dabancheng in western China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on April 23, 2021. Human rights groups and Western nations led by the United States, Britain and Germany accused China of massive crimes against the Uyghur minority and demanded unimpeded access for U.N. experts at a virtual meeting on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 denounced by China as “politically motivated” and based on “lies.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Schiefelbein
VIDEO: Trudeau demands truth from China about Uyghurs

PM says Canada has admitted broken Indigenous relationship, unlike China on Uyghurs

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, middle right, participates in a ribbon-cutting ceremony in honour of the launch of Kelowna’s plasma donor centre at Orchard Plaza Mall on June 22. From left to right: Canadian Blood Services’ business development manager Janna Pantella, Canadian Blood Services’ operational excellence manager Tyler Burke, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and Canadian Blood Services’ centre manager Janine Johns. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
B.C.’s first dedicated plasma donor centre opens in Kelowna

The Kelowna location is the third dedicated plasma donor to open in Canada

Children walk with their parents to Sherwood Park Elementary in North Vancouver for the first day back to school on Sept. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Study reassures parents, teachers that COVID-19 infrequently shared at school

Federally funded study in Vancouver finds risk in the classroom and in the community identical

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday April 13, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Single-game sports betting about to become legal in Canada

Senate passes bill to take sports gambling away from overseas agencies

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Point Roberts is part of the mainland United States but not physically connected to it, to reach the community by land one must pass through Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Closed Canadian border leaves Point Roberts’ only grocery store on verge of closure

‘We’re Americans but we’re not attached to America. It’s easy to forget we’re here,’ says owner Ali Hayton

The Somass Sawmill sits idle in early May 2021. While the kilns have been in use occasionally, and the lot has been used to store woodchips this spring, the mill has been curtailed since July 27, 2017. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni to expropriate Somass Sawmill from Western Forest Products

Sawmill has been ‘indefinitely’ curtailed since 2017

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

Most Read