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Brief History of Terry Fox

FRANCOPRESSE – The year 2020 marks the 40e Terry Fox Run anniversary. This annual race has raised more than $ 800 million since its inception. Back on the life course of a young man who left his mark on thousands of young Canadians.

Andréanne Joly – Francopresse

A young athlete, basketball and rugby enthusiast, Terry Fox was born in 1958 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and spent his teenage years in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. At 17, bone cancer forced the amputation of his right leg.

Credit: Gail Harvey – Courtesy The Terry Fox Foundation

While recovering, he learns that a marathon runner is running with a prosthesis. He decides that he will run too and that his run will have a positive impact on other people with cancer.

He trains for 15 months for his Marathon of Hope, which is to take him from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Vancouver, British Columbia.

His initial goal is to raise a million dollars, money that will be invested in cancer research. He began his trip across the country on April 12, 1980. When he saw the enthusiasm for his project, he decided to inflate his goal to 23 million, or one dollar per Canadian.

1er September 1980, as he neared Thunder Bay, Ontario, a cough and pain forced him to board his escort van and go to the hospital. Since April 12, he had refused any visit to the doctor so as not to slow his progress. That of cancer had not however slowed down either: two already large tumors lodged in his lungs.

Nine months later, he died at the age of 22.

From his hospital bed, Terry Fox recalled the purpose of his Marathon: “That’s cancer, I’m not the only one. It happens to other people every day. I’m not special. ”

In September 1981, less than three months after the runner’s death, a first Terry Fox Run was organized. Over 300,000 people took part and raised $ 3.5 million for cancer research.

Terry Fox in 5 places

Winnipeg (Manitoba): Terrance Stanley Fox was born there on July 28, 1958. Terry Fox quickly became an athlete. He particularly enjoys basketball.

Vancouver (British Columbia): Terry Fox grew up in Port Coquitlam, now in Metro Vancouver. It was here that he was diagnosed with bone cancer and suffered an amputation of his right leg in 1977.

Saint-Jean (Newfoundland): On April 12, 1980, Terry Fox plunged his foot into the Atlantic, marking the low-key start of his Marathon of Hope, an 8,500 km cross-Canada race to raise funds for cancer research.

Hawkesbury (Ontario): From kilometer to kilometer, in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Quebec, the attention directed to the Marathon of Hope is increasing. In Hawkesbury, Ontario, 200 people gathered along the road to greet him.

Thunder Bay (Ontario): After having covered more than 5,300 km, cancer forces him to suspend his marathon on 1er September 1980. Tery Fox died in the Vancouver area the following June 28, at age 22. A 2.7-meter monument was erected in Thunder Bay in 1982.

The benefits of the Terry Fox Foundation

Almost 80% of the donations accumulated by the Foundation go to cancer research, including the Terry Fox Research Institute, which in turn funds the Marathon of Hope Network of Oncology Centers. This network brings together hospitals and universities across Canada with the aim of improving information sharing and thus accelerating the progress made in precision medicine (new technologies, advanced imaging and artificial intelligence) for cancer patients. .

Bad news / good news

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, in 2015, 45% of Canadians and 43% of Canadian women will have cancer in their lifetime and 26% of Canadians and 23% of Canadian women will die from it.

Today, 80% of people with osteosarcoma, the type of cancer that cost Terry Fox his right leg, recover. From the 1940s to 2019, the cancer survival rate after 5 years rose from 25% to 63%.