September 19: Terry Fox

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Terry Fox

Terry Fox (1958–1981) was a Canadian humanitarian, athlete and cancer research activist. He was a distance runner and basketball player, and continued both pursuits after his right leg was amputated upon being diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 1977. His experiences in chemotherapy inspired Fox to attempt the Marathon of Hope, a cross-Canada run, in the hopes of raising C$1 for every person in the country for cancer research. He began on April 12, 1980, at St. John’s, Newfoundland, and ran west for 143 days and 5,373 kilometres – the equivalent of a marathon a day – until forced to stop near Thunder Bay, Ontario, after cancer returned in his lungs. Fox captivated the country; he was named Newsmaker of the Year in both 1980 and 1981, and was the youngest person ever named a Companion of the Order of Canada. His run and subsequent battle with the disease united the nation and led to millions of dollars in donations. He inspired the Terry Fox Run, held in over 60 countries and the world’s largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research; over $500 million has been raised in his name. Considered a national hero, many buildings, roads and parks have been named in his honour across Canada. (more…)

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