Terry Fox’s celebration stalled by COVID-19, threatens Marathon of Hope run in September

by | Apr 8, 2020 | News

Tyler Biggs, Sports Reporter

The Terry Fox Marathon of Hope’s 40-year celebration has been postponed until further notice due to the novel coronavirus but hopes remain high for the September run.

The Terry Fox Research Institute and The Terry Fox Foundation announced last month the 2020 Marathon of Hope Celebration, a commemorative event that celebrates the spirit of Terry Fox, will not be celebrated this year due to stay-at-home requests by the federal and provincial governments.

The celebration scheduled for April 5 was delayed because of COVID-19. The Terry Fox Run is still scheduled for Sept. 20, and until further notice, no one should  lose hope in these dark days.

While a cancellation would be tragic, the CEO of the Running Room John Stanton understands the difficulty everyone is facing but nevertheless thinks this is the perfect time to remember Terry and his message.

We heard recently from Cathy D, our Run Organizer in Timmins ON, who epitomizes the indomitable spirit of volunteers…

Posted by The Terry Fox Foundation on Monday, 30 March 2020
According to the Terry Fox Foundation a run organizer from Timmins, Ont., seems hopeful of continuing the Marathon of Hope celebration.

“I think everybody can take some solace and look at the fortitude and resiliency Terry had,” Stanton said.

“We have to stay positive, even on the day that he quit if you look at the old CBC tape with him, he was still positive.”

Terrance Stanley Fox better known as Terry Fox showed the world that it doesn’t take two legs to run. All that’s needed is hope.

The Canadian athlete was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a cancer that affects bones, after he complained of pain in his leg after a 1976 car accident. His leg was amputated to stop the cancer cells from spreading and he went through chemotherapy.

Cancer took away one of his legs but couldn’t take his spirit. Despite his loss, Fox played basketball for the North American Wheelchair Basketball Association.

In a letter Fox sent to the Canadian Cancer Society in 1979, he announced he would run across the country in order to raise money for cancer research. He hoped to get a dollar from all of Canada’s then 24 million citizens by the time he made it to the Pacific Ocean. 

Terry Fox joking with Kerry Anne, a young lady that accompanied Terry for two months on his historic run in 1980 along with her brother. (Courtesy: The Terry Fox Foundation)
Terry Fox joking with Kerry Anne, a young lady that accompanied Terry for two months on his historic run in 1980 along with her brother. (Courtesy: The Terry Fox Foundation)

However, 143 days into the run that began dipping his toe in the Atlantic Ocean in St. John’s, Terry ended his Marathon of Hope near Thunder Bay, Ont.. He could no longer run after his cancer returned and spread to his lungs. Terry died in June 1981.

The marathon in his honour began only a few months after his death and has since continued its massive impact on cancer research.

To date, the foundation has raised more than $715 million.

Stanton said everyone may have to adapt to technology in order to continue the marathon because of the uncertainty posed by COVID-19.

“(A virtual run) is a great way for people to still support their communities, even if it’s on a country road somewhere by yourself,” he said.

“I think there’s going to be a change in our social fabric, but we will adapt.”