140: Terry Fox Runs Across Canada

Terry Fox

Photo of Terry Fox during his 1980 Marathon of Hope fundraising run across Canada. (Photo by Jeremy Gilbert via Wikimedia Commons)

Today is the 57th anniversary of the birth of Terry Fox, whose attempt to run across Canada after losing a leg to cancer made him a national hero.

Here are some things you might not know about Fox.

First, he was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and moved with his family to British Columbia at the age of 8. At age 18 he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his right leg. His leg was amputated and he underwent chemotherapy. While still undergoing treatment, Fox began playing wheelchair basketball, eventually winning three Canadian championships.

Second, he was inspired to run across Canada in an effort to raise awareness of and money for cancer research. On April 12, 1980, Fox set off from St. John’s, Newfoundland, toward Victoria, British Columbia. Early on, his effort attracted little attention. By the time he reached Montreal, he had raised more than two-hundred thousand dollars. By the time he reached Ottawa, he met with the prime minister and was given a standing ovation at a professional football game. In Toronto, more than one-hundred thousand dollars were raised in just one day.

Third, on September 1, 1980, in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Fox was forced to visit a hospital after developing a severe cough and chest pains. The next day, after running more than thirty-three hundred miles, and raising one-point-seven million dollars, Fox ended his run after doctors determined his cancer had returned and spread to his lungs. By the next April, Fox’s story had inspired more than twenty-three million dollars in donations. On June 28, 1981, Terry Fox died at the age of twenty-two. A 1999 survey rated Fox as Canada’s greatest hero.

Our question: Who was prime minister of Canada when Fox made his run?

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