Terry Fox was one of the most inspirational human beings the world has ever seen. An active teenager involved in many sports, Fox was diagnosed with bone cancer aged 18 and had to have his right leg amputated above the knee. You might think this would bring any sporting ambitions firmly to a halt – but you’d be wrong. Inspired by his fellow patients in hospital, Fox decided to undertake an epic challenge: to run across Canada on his artificial leg at a rate of one marathon per day, with the goal of raising $24 million ($1 from every person in Canada) for cancer research. It was to be called the Marathon of Hope.
Before he even began, Fox ran over 3,000 miles (5,000 km) in training over the course of 18 months. Then on 12th April 1980 he set off from the very edge of the Atlantic Ocean on Canada’s east coast near St John’s, Newfoundland. From there he stuck to his plan, running roughly 26 miles (40 km) per day, every day, a challenge that even top able-bodied athletes would struggle to meet. After a quiet start, his epic quest began to attract more and more attention from the public and the media, and the donations started to mount up.
Fox overcame all manner of challenges during the course of the journey – shin splints, an inflamed knee, cysts on his stump, dizzy spells, even people (for some unknown reason) trying to run him off the road – but when he reached Thunder Bay, Ontario, a medical check-up revealed that he had developed lung cancer, and he was finally forced to stop running. He had run 3,339 miles (5,373 km) over the course of 143 days, and left a nation in awe. He passed away on 28th June the following year, aged just 22, having lived to see the donations towards his cause top $24 million just a few days before.
Fox’s legacy continues to this day through the Terry Fox Foundation and the annual Terry Fox Runs, which have so far raised over $600 million for cancer research. His amazing story is also told in the 1983 biopic The Terry Fox Story, a 2005 movie, Terry, which focuses on his Marathon of Hope, and the ESPN documentary Into the Wind:
Via Kick Ass Trips