Fox family helps unveil new stamp honouring Canadian icon and hero.
Cancer took his leg, but it couldn’t take his spirit.
Terry Fox ran through snow, pouring rain, sweltering heat and often unbearable pain during his Marathon of Hope in the spring and summer of 1980.
Fox ran close to a marathon a day, every day, to raise money for cancer research. That’s about 42 kilometres each day – on an artificial leg. He ran 5,373 kilometres in all over 143 days. He ran with blisters on his left foot and when his right stump was bloody and raw.
“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.”
– Terry Fox
He ran his way into the hearts and minds of Canadians.
He’s a Canadian icon and hero who inspired a nation – and still does to this day.
Canada Post is commemorating his incredible accomplishment with a new stamp that honours the Marathon of Hope as one of 10 great moments or achievements in Canada over the last 50 years.
Stamp unveiled in city where Marathon of Hope started
Terry’s sister Judith Fox helped unveil the stamp today at a ceremony at City Hall in St. John’s, N.L., the city where it all started. The maple-leaf shaped stamp features Fox running in his now-famous Marathon of Hope t-shirt.
School children also participated in the ceremony and proudly displayed posters explaining how Fox has inspired them to believe they can achieve whatever goals they have in life.
Fox was only 18 when he had his right leg amputated due to bone cancer. He never forgot the young kids he saw in the cancer ward and vowed to do something about it. Fox decided to run across Canada, initially hoping to raise $1 million for cancer research.
On April 12, 1980, three years after his amputation, Fox dipped his artificial right leg into the Atlantic Ocean in St. John’s.
It was there, at the easternmost point of Canada, that Fox started his Marathon of Hope – in a spot that has become known as Mile 0 and where a statue of Fox and monument now stand.
The Marathon of Hope is the sixth in a set of 10 stamps being issued to mark Canada 150 – each one celebrating an unforgettable moment or achievement in the life of this country since its centennial in 1967. The 10 stamps are being individually unveiled leading up to June 1 at locations across the country – and go on sale June 1.
A hero’s long journey
It started out with little fanfare. A stubborn, determined young man jogging down some lonely highways. Fox’s best friend Doug Alward was always right behind him in a support van, collecting scattered donations as they went along.
But it soon turned into a national wave of support, and donations poured in. Canadians lined up along highways and city roads to cheer on Fox and contribute to his marathon.
Fox was still in Newfoundland and Labrador when he set a much loftier goal of raising $24 million for cancer research – one dollar for every Canadian at the time.
Terry’s brother Darrell Fox joined the support efforts in New Brunswick as the marathon kept gaining momentum.
Fans roared in Ottawa when Terry made a ceremonial kickoff at a Canadian Football League game. Thousands of people packed Nathan Phillips Square in downtown Toronto to see Fox and donate.
Fox had run more than halfway across Canada when his Marathon of Hope unexpectedly ended just outside Thunder Bay, Ont. on Sept. 1, 1980. Cancer had spread to his lungs.
A stunned nation was saddened.
Terry Fox died June 28, 1981, one month short of his 23rd birthday.
The country mourned and collectively shed tears. But it also took up his cause.
A lasting legacy around the world
Fox’s legacy lives on through the annual Terry Fox Run at locations around the world. Schools have also been named after him across Canada, inspiring a whole new generation of young Canadians and daring them to dream.
The Terry Fox Foundation, which organizes the annual runs, has raised more than $700 million worldwide for cancer research, while the Terry Fox Research Institute is dedicated to improving health outcomes for cancer patients everywhere.
His determination and remarkable achievement also changed public perceptions of people with physical disabilities and dismantled barriers for the disabled. Fox has demonstrated that one person can make a world of difference.
He ran his way into our collective memory and spirit.
Fox’s Marathon of Hope is one of the most identifiable and cherished events in Canadian history.
It remains an enduring symbol of courage, selflessness and hope.
Here are the other stamps unveiled so far as part of our Canada 150 program: