Today, Canadians Celebrate A National Hero, Terry Fox
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Today, Canadians Celebrate A National Hero, Terry Fox

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In 2015, Manitoba was the first province to rename the Civil Holiday Terry Fox Day

Manitoba celebrates Terry Fox day on Monday, August 1, 2022, to honour a national hero. Terrance Stanley Fox, popularly known as Terry Fox, who was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on July 28, 1958, was a Canadian athlete, humanitarian, and cancer research activist. In 1980, with one leg having been amputated due to cancer, he embarked on an east-to-west cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research.

Eighteen-year-old Terry Fox of Port Coquitlam, BC, never saw himself as remarkable. Granted, he displayed an unusual determination to achieve his goals, but his orbit was local – family, school, sports, and friends. But Terry’s cancer diagnosis of osteogenic sarcoma just above the knee, the subsequent amputation of his leg, and experience in the children’s cancer wards changed all that. A newly nurtured reservoir of compassion, combined with a fierce determination to end the suffering cancer causes, set Terry on a path that completely changed the world.

Fox lost his leg to osteogenic sarcoma at age 18, underwent 16 months of treatment, and found he could not ignore the suffering he witnessed in the cancer wards. Terry decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research in a Marathon of Hope. He wasn’t doing the run to become famous; he wanted to create change and fund a cure for all cancers. Terry ran close to 42 kilometers (26 miles) daily through Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario. He ran through snow, rain, wind, heat, and humidity. He stopped in more than 400 towns, schools, and cities to discuss why he was running.

Fox was awarded The Order of the Dogwood, the highest civilian award in British Columbia, and he received the Lou Marsh Award for outstanding athletic accomplishment—a title that Canadian sports editors voted on. 

Before his death on June 28, 1981, Terry had achieved his once unimaginable goal of $1 from every Canadian. More importantly, he had set the framework for an event, The Terry Fox Run, that would ignite cancer research in Canada, raising more than $850 million since 1980 and bringing hope and health to millions of Canadians.

After its success in Canada, the Terry Fox Run launches around the world in the following countries: Australia, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, England, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, U.S.A., and Zimbabwe.

This day significantly impacts a nation because it raises money for cancer research, inspires people, and gives hope to those still fighting cancer.

Because of the legacy Terry has left behind; he continues to give hope to those battling cancer. Thanks to The Terry Fox Foundation, over $715 million has been raised to support cancer research. A Terry Fox Research Institute was also established, which combines clinical expertise with experimental expertise from scientific researchers. All of these are steps towards finding a cure for cancer.

In 2015, Manitoba marked the first Terry Fox Day in honour of a national hero. Manitoba has paved the way for other provinces to rename the Civil Holiday to Terry Fox Day.