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

Police tape crosses Auchinachie Road at Somenos Road as police investigate an incident Friday at 11:30 a.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
UPDATE: Gardener digs up explosives, neighbours, school evacuated

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

The Greater Victoria School District continues to face backlash over its wording and approach to Indigenous learners in its 2021-2022 budget talks. (Black Press Media file photo)
School district’s approach to Indigenous learners leaves Victoria teachers ‘disgusted’

Backlash grows over ‘pattern of colonial thinking permeating the leadership’

Colin Dowler survived a grizzly bear attack July 29, 2019 on Mt. Dougie Dowler on the south coast of British Columbia and reports that his physical and mental rehabilitation is still ongoing. Photo courtesy Colin Dowler
‘Bad-ass dude that took on a grizzly bear’ doesn’t let 2019 attack bring him down

Campbell River’s Colin Dowler gets on with his life as his rehabilitation continues

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue manager Ken Neden, as he goes over the events of the Qualicum Falls river rescue on Dec. 12, 2020, for a United Kingdom television program “Unbelievable Moments Caught on Camera’. (Mandy Moraes photo)
UK TV show spreading news of daring Qualicum Falls river rescue across the world

Arrowsmith SAR trio share their accounts for ‘Unbelievable Moments Caught on Camera’

An elderly man having a medical emergency in Mount Douglas Park on May 13 was rescued by firefighters and paramedics with the help of ATVs. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Rescue team uses ATVs to get man in medical distress out of Saanich park and to hospital

Cedarhill Road closed as firefighters, paramedics rescue man in Mount Douglas Park

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Superintendent Aaron Paradis, community services officer with the Surrey RCMP, during a media availability about a recent drug bust in Port Coquitlam. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Police seize 13 million ‘potentially fatal doses’ of pure fentanyl at B.C. drug lab

The evidence was seized at large, illicit drug manufacturing site in Port Coquitlam

Left to right: Royal Bay students Payton Gust, Oskar Wood, Cheyenne Norman, Julia Morrison, Tanisha Spiller and Izzy Kroll made up the team who painted their high school’s crosswalk. (Royal Bay Secondary School photo)
Senior student leaves mark at Vancouver Island high school for LGBTQ+ students

Crosswalk at Colwood’s Royal Bay Secondary painted in support of marginalized community members

Pathfinders and Wild Wise Sooke built slim, black bat houses to be hung around Sooke. (Submitted/Wild Wise Sooke)
Vancouver Island teens build bat condos

Wild Wise Sooke says bats will sleep, hibernate and raise their young in the boxes

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth debates the province’s latest measure to control crime, March 10, 2021. The legislation allows police to impound vehicles used to transport weapons and further restricts sale of vehicle and body armour. (B.C. legislature video)
B.C. seeking ways to ‘name and shame’ gangsters, minister says

Mike Farnworth appeals to family members to talk to police

The Arts Council of Ladysmith and District is working with several Vancouver Island art councils on the Digitial Innovation Group to improve digital skills for Island artists. (Submitted photo)
Arts group promotes digital literacy for Island artists

The goal is to leverage digital skills to promote Vancouver Island as an ‘arts powerhouse’

Most Read