By: Korie Marshall
He’s one of Canada’s most iconic and inspirational citizens – a symbol of hope, courage and determination in the fight against cancer. In November, the B.C. government legislated a day in Terry Fox’s name.
With the passing of the Terry Fox Day Act in the B.C. legislature, the second Sunday after Labour Day will now be officially known as Terry Fox Day. This is also the date of the hundreds of annual cross-Canada Terry Fox Runs commemorating Fox’s Marathon of Hope. A Terry Fox run is held annually in both Valemount and McBride. He is also commemorated in the Robson Valley with Mount Terry Fox, Mount Terry Fox Provincial Park and a hiking trail named after him, all of which are just north of Valemount. The trail is accessible near the rest stop on Highway 5 near Jackman Flats. There is also another rest stop on Highway 16 with good views of Mount Terry Fox.
“Terry Fox is an inspiration for British Columbians, Canadians, and people all over the world,” said Premier Christy Clark in a news release. “His message of hope and the movement he started continue to impact countless lives. This legislation that MLA Linda Reimer championed shows B.C. recognizes the difference he made in the world, and we will commemorate him every second Sunday after Labour Day from now on.”
Beginning in April 1980, Fox ran for 143 days and 5,373 kilometres from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Thunder Bay, Ontario, to raise money for cancer research. On Sept. 1, 1980, Fox’s worsening condition forced him to end his one-man marathon and that was the beginning of something bigger than he had ever imagined.
This legislation recognizes Fox as a symbol of hope for British Columbians, and gives both the government and British Columbians the opportunity to carry on his vision and celebrate his living legacy.
“Our sincere thanks to MLA Linda Reimer for taking the lead and introducing the Terry Fox Day act to the legislature,” said Rolly Fox, father of Terry Fox. “We have been moved by the kind, generous and sincere words expressed by all members of the house since the bill was introduced. We are truly thankful, as the Terry Fox Day act acknowledges the magnificent efforts of ‘Terry Foxers’ from Ucluelet to Fort Nelson and every B.C. community in between, who further Terry’s dream of eradicating cancer once and for all.”
When Fox began his Marathon of Hope in 1980, his goal was to raise $1 from every Canadian to fight cancer. Today, more than $650 million has been raised in Fox’s name in Canada and around the world for cancer research.
Fox was born in born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and raised in Port Coquitlam, B.C. He died on June 28, 1981, at the age of 22.