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Sunday marks 40 years since Marathon of Hope

Last Updated Apr 10, 2020 at 1:20 pm PDT

(Courtesy the Terry Fox Foundation)

Sunday marks the 40th anniversary since Terry Fox began Marathon of Hope

His older brother says, now more than ever, Terry's persistence of hope lives on today

The Terry Fox Foundation has raised more than $800 million for cancer awareness and research

COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) – In a time when there is so much fear, anxiety, and uncertainty in the world, there is also a glimmer of hope brought to you by a Canadian icon.

This Sunday marks 40 years since Terry Fox began his Marathon of Hope. Fox, who was 21-years-old on Apr. 12, 1980, took on the gruelling task of attempting to run across the country to raise money and awareness for an illness that would soon cut his journey short and end his life far too soon.

His older brother Fred, who lives in the Lower Mainland, says now more than ever Terry’s persistence of hope lives on today.

“Every year we mark this time of year with Terry’s anniversary of starting the Marathon of Hope and in being significant, it’s 40 years ago that Terry would have been in Newfoundland. Terry, when diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 18, he had seen other people suffering and going through their own cancer experience and Terry wanted to do something about it,” he says. “He wanted to make a difference and wanted to find a cure for cancer by raising money for cancer research. We mark that day and it is important given what we’re dealing with today that Terry wanted to help other people and I think that’s what all of us are doing right now.”

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Fox made it nearly 5,400 kilometres and several provinces before the cancer in his body spread to his lungs and forced him to stop.

If he were still alive today, his brother explains, Terry would say it’s so important to be there for others right now.

“Terry would want everyone to band together. It’s been said many times that when Terry was running across Canada he brought our country together and I think through this whole thing with COVID-19, that’s what Canada has done. It doesn’t matter what province you’re in, people are gathering together and Terry’s message would still be today that people are still being diagnosed with cancer and it’s still important, as it was 40 years ago, to do something about that and that would also be Terry’s focus.”

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Terry passed away on Jun. 28, 1981 in New Westminster.

Fred credits Canadians at home and abroad for continuing to keep his brother’s legacy alive, something in which he finds great comfort.

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“Terry’s dream is alive and well and is growing all the time and Terry has inspired so many people. Terry couldn’t have done this on his own. There were so many people back in 1980 during the Marathon of Hope and today that are working so hard — volunteers right across Canada, participants and donors who are keeping his dream alive. So, as we mark this anniversary, all those people need to be recognized and thanked for what they’ve done.”

To date, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised more than $800 million for cancer awareness and research.