terry fox marathon of hope

40 years ago today Terry Fox began his Marathon of Hope

Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope changed Canada forever, and today marks exactly 40 years since the inspirational young athlete set out on his journey to fight cancer.

On April 12,  1980, Fox set out to run across Canada, beginning in St. John's, Newfoundland.

The 21-year-old had lost his right leg to cancer three years previously. Now, the Canadian was hoping to raise $1 million for cancer research.

Fox ran a full marathon every day, for 143 days.

Ultimately, Fox was forced to stop his journey just outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario. He ran 3,339 miles through six Canadian provinces — and made it two-thirds of the way home to Port Coquitlam, B.C.

He lost his battle to cancer 10 months later. His incredible feat, however, lives on.

Fox set out with two friends, a van, a stretch of highway, and a fervent belief that he could accomplish the seemingly impossible. His determination to tackle the extraordinary continues to inspire Canadians even four decades later.

Ultimately, Fox did not raise $1 million for cancer; he raised more than $10 million, and his legacy continues to raise millions more for cancer research in Canada.

Canadian hotelier Isadore Sharp — who lost one of his own sons to cancer — became one of Fox's biggest champions during his fundraising efforts.

"Terry did not lose his fight," Sharp said. "Perhaps he finished all he had to do. Terry is like a meteor passing in the sky, one whose light travels beyond our view, yet still shines in the darkest night."

And in difficult times like these, we need that light more than ever.

Lead photo by

Terry Fox Foundation

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