Canada is remembering Terry Fox who passed away 39 years ago today
The legacy of Terry Fox has transcended his death; the heroic Canadian died 39 years ago, but his memory lives on, inspiring millions across the country to achieve their own daunting feats and to donate to cancer research.
On June 28, 1981, Fox passed away at at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, British Columbia.
The athlete was one month short of his twenty-third birthday.
#OnThisDay - June 28, 1981: Canadians awoke to the devastating news that Terry Fox had succumbed to cancer, his family by his side. He entrusted his dream of a world free of cancer to Canadians, and we promised to take his Marathon of Hope across the finish line. pic.twitter.com/3zNrESTRWU— TerryFoxFoundation (@TerryFoxCanada) June 28, 2020
Fox was 143 days and over 5,300 kilometres into his cross-country Marathon of Hope when he was ultimately forced to stop running after the primary cancer spread to his lungs.
In September 1980, the athlete flew from Thunder Bay, Ont. to B.C. for treatment.
"I'm gonna do my very best," Fox said at the time. "I'll fight. I promise I won't give up."
Remembering Canadian icon Terry Fox, who passed away today in 1981.— Clayton Baker 🇨🇦 (@IGIF_) June 28, 2020
A true Canadian hero.pic.twitter.com/Lo7cSyKi66
Although Fox was ultimately never able to complete his marathon, his goal of raising $1 from every Canadian to fight cancer was realized a few months before his death.
On February 1, 1981, Canada's national population reached 24.1 million; the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope fund totalled $24.17 million.
On this day, June 28, 1981, the world lost Terry Fox to cancer. He entrusted his dream of a world free of cancer to us. #marathonofhope Let’s continue to keep his legacy burning by working together for the greater good! pic.twitter.com/C7rh1Lfud1— Lucky Budd (@lucky_budd) June 28, 2020
Now, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised more than $800 million in the athlete's name as of April 2020.
Canadians continue to honour one of our greatest athletes by participating in an annual Terry Fox run each September (which will be virtual this year) and keeping his dream alive.
Not long after losing a leg to cancer, Terry Fox decided to run across Canada to raise awareness and money for cancer research. Sadly, he passed away #OTD on June 28, 1981. Today, his legacy endures through the annual Terry Fox Run for cancer research. Watch his #HeritageMinute: pic.twitter.com/4jmZ3r3qnB— Historica Canada (@HistoricaCanada) June 28, 2020
Today, Canadians across the country pay tribute to the young man that united an entire nation around his journey.
"Terry Fox is the reason I went to SFU to study Criminology and a Canadian icon," one person wrote, referring to Fox's alma mater. "A hero. Absolute legend."
"In Canada, we consider Terry Fox a hero among heroes," another person added. "Lost his leg from Cancer at 19. Decided to randomly run across Canada to raise money at 21. No press. No fanfare. Just Forest Gump-style started running. Died 9 months later 3/4 way to his goal."
June 28th 1981, Terry Fox lost his life to cancer. He had developed pneumonia and fell into a coma before passing away at 4:35 am with his family by his side. 39 years after his death Terry remains an inspiration to all Canadians. @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/9N3aBygWK6— Tarnjit Parmar (@Tarnjitkparmar) June 28, 2020
"For one magnificent summer, an entire nation ran stride for painful stride with a young man whose desire was to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research," the website says.
39 Years Ago #OTD - June 28, 1981, our 🇨🇦 Nation mourned 😔 as we learned that our Hero had passed 🕊️. Today, his Dream continues to Live On in all Canadians 🍁 #WeRemember— T O R O N T O 🍁 (@Toronto) June 28, 2020
TERRY FOX 💙#MarathonofHope pic.twitter.com/Nc54vLGryt
Canadians have also petitioned to put Fox on the new five-dollar bank note that the Bank of Canada is releasing.
"If Wilfred [sic] Laurier were alive today he would undoubtedly say please take my face off five dollar bill and replace me with Terry Fox," one person wrote.
I submitted the following notice of motion at the Legislature: "Be it resolved that this House support the nomination of Terry Fox to be the face of Canada’s new redesigned five-dollar bill." #TerryFox inspired a generation of Canadians and was a true Canadian Hero. pic.twitter.com/BOFEmh2XgB— Rick Glumac (@RickGlumacBC) February 25, 2020
Fox's unwavering sense of optimism, however, is perhaps most inspiring; on April 26, 1980 — just about a year before his death — the athlete took a moment during his Marathon of Hope to reflect on his life.
"Today we got up at 4:00 am. As usual, it was tough," Fox said. "If I died, I would die happy because I was doing what I wanted to do. How many people could say that?"
Join the conversation Load comments