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  Weekly Feature (April 17, 2005)

Terry Fox: A Coin for a Canadian Hero
Helen's Weekly Feature


April 12, 2005 - 25th Anniversary of The Terry Fox Marathon of Hope

At a news conference in 1980, Terry Fox said, “How many people do something they really believe in?  I just wish people would realize that anything’s possible if you try.  Dreams are made if people try.”

In 1977, when Terry Fox was just 18 years old, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma,  bone cancer, and had to have his right leg amputated above the knee.

While in hospital with other cancer patients, he decided to raise money for cancer research, and he would do that by running across Canada.

Terry’s goal was to raise $22 million, and he asked every Canadian to give $1 to support the work of cancer research.

On April 12, 1980, in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Terry Fox dipped his prosthesis in the Atlantic Ocean and began his “Marathon of Hope.”  His plan was to keep running until he could dip his leg in the Pacific Ocean, but after running 5300km (St. John’s, Newfoundland to Thunder Bay, Ontario) in 143 day, he was forced to abandon his run.  He died a few months later, June 28, 1981, at the age of 22.

However, his dream did not die with him. His courage and determination inspired many Canadians, so that first Marathon of Hope raised $24.1 million.  Just two months later, in September, 1981 the first Terry Fox Run was up and running in more that 760 places in Canada and around the world with over 300,000 caring people participating. For 25 years the Terry Fox Run has been held annually across Canada and in about 50 countries around the world. The Terry Fox Foundation has raised $360 million for research.

This year, The Terry Fox Foundation is working towards a very specific goal:  to have every school in Canada stage a Terry Fox Run.  Watch for the National School Run Day on Friday, September 16, 2005.  To help make this dream come true, call 1-888-836-9786.

 Terry Fox continues to be honoured posthumously for his heroism and his contribution to cancer research.

This month, the latest tribute came in the form of the new Terry Fox dollar coin.  The Royal Canadian Mint held an Unveiling Ceremony at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby.  The coins, with Terry’s image on one side and the Queen’s on the other, are in circulation now.  Just 11 million coins have been minted to date, but another 9 million will be available in September. 

Terry’s legacy continues.  In our area, you can see monuments, mountain peaks, schools, highways, and awards and more all named in his honour. 

 Terry’s dream is being realized through the ongoing contributions of scientific research, humanitarian efforts, financial gifts and dedicated volunteer work. 

 Links to learn more about our hero:

The Terry Fox Foundation

Terry Fox: A Great Canadian

Terry Fox: Wikipedia



Osteosarcoma – a form of bone cancer

Prosthetic leg – artificial leg

Relentlessly – without giving up

Bid to raise money – effort to raise money

Arduous trek – difficult journey

Run was cut short – forced to stop before completed

Participants – those who take part

Money raised stands at - totals

Bewildered - confused

Intense – extreme, very strong or deep

Adversity – misfortune, hurtful,

Astounding- amazing, shocking

Indigenous – belonging naturally to a region

Legacy – something handed down from another

Posthumously – occurring after one’s death

Commemorative – to preserve in memory, be a memorial

Humanitarian – concerned with improving the lives of others

Virtually – nearly, almost

Terry Fox Vocabulary Matching Quiz

Visit Last Week's Feature: Dental Health Month

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