Terry Fox: A Canadian symbol for hope

Terry Fox Run for cancer research with image of Terry Fox

This Sunday, September 20th marks the 40th anniversary of the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope. Every year around this time, Canadians gather to fundraise for cancer research and continue Terry Fox’s inspiring legacy of hope and perseverance.  

This year, even though we’re celebrating virtually, we must keep the spirit of the Marathon of Hope going as a reminder of what we can accomplish when we stand together. 

Terry Fox was a teenager whose perseverance turned him into a Canadian hero. At 18 years old, he was diagnosed with bone cancer and was forced to have his right leg amputated six inches above his knee. However, this young man didn’t let this difficult time defeat him. Instead, he set out to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research, naming his journey the Marathon of Hope. 

He began his run in St. John’s, Newfoundland on April 12, 1980 and ran for 143 days and 5,373 kilometres, raising awareness and inspiring Canadians to donate with his enthusiasm and endurance. Unfortunately, he was forced to stop running just outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario, due to cancer spreading to his lungs.  

Terry Fox died on June 28, 1981, but his spirit lives on in our country. He inspired us by showing the power of ordinary people to make a difference, even in the most difficult of circumstances.  

On Sunday, in whatever way we can, let’s take a moment to honour the life of this young, inspiring Canadian hero, and continue the work he started in supporting cancer research. 

In solidarity, 

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President 
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer