Terry Fox Biography & Activities

Read about Terry Fox, an inspirational Canadian whose battle with bone cancer prompted him to run over 3,000 miles across Canada. He began his Marathon of Hope on April 12, 1980.
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Runner / Activist

Born: 28 July 1958
Died: 28 June 1981 (cancer)
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Best known as: The cancer victim who ran over 3000 miles across Canada

Name at birth: Terrance Stanley Fox

Terry Fox was a young Canadian whose battle with bone cancer prompted him to run across his country, despite already having had one leg amputated. Fox grew up in Port Coquitlam, outside of Vancouver, British Columbia. Diagnosed with osteogenetic sarcoma in 1977, he had his right leg amputated just above the knee and was fitted with a prosthetic device. To draw attention to the disease and to raise funds for research, Fox announced he would run a marathon per day (more than 26 miles) across Canada, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. He began his trek on 12 April 1980 in St. John's, Newfoundland and ran until he was almost to Thunder Bay, Ontario. (According to the Terry Fox Foundation, he traversed 3,339 miles in 143 days.) Fox was forced to abort his trip on 1 September 1980, when he learned cancer had spread to his lungs. He died less than a year later, a month shy of his 23rd birthday. His strength in the face of adversity made Fox a national hero, and since his death the Terry Fox Foundation has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for cancer research and treatment.

Extra credit: Fox was the subject of the TV movies The Terry Fox Story (1983, with actor Eric Fryer as Fox) and Terry (2005, starring Shawn Ashmore)... He has been honored with a postage stamp and a dollar coin and has many things named for him in Canada, including a school, a highway and a mountain.

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Extension Activities:

  • On a map, trace the route of Terry Fox's run.
  • Write a paper about why Terry Fox is a national hero.
  • Draw a picture of Terry Fox.
  • Learn about cancer prevention and the symptoms of cancer.
  • Host a Terry Fox event to raise money for the Terry Fox Foundation.
  • Talk about disabilities and discuss what it means to be disabled.
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