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

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

The District of 100 Mile House office. (File photo)
Tax rate for 100 Mile residents dips slightly

Average house assessment up, tax rate down

While the initial deadline for the 2021 Canadian Census has passed, there’s still time to complete it online or by mail. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Census underway across country

Local workers distributing census package to rural areas

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson speaking in the legislature Monday, May 10. (Video screen shot)
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA calls for rural infrastructure renewal fund

Lorne Doerkson said central parts of rural B.C. devastated by flooding, crumbling infrastructure

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

Brad MacKenzie, advocacy chair for the ALS Society of B.C., says having research projects in the province allows people here to have access to cutting-edge treatments now being developed. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds research chair for Lou Gehrig’s disease at UBC

Pandemic has cut off patient access to international projects

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File
Questions remain about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot in Canada

More than two million Canadians have received AstraZeneca and 17 have been confirmed to have VITT

Most Read