Special Google Doodle is going live Sunday to celebrate Canadian athlete and cancer activist Terry Fox.
Terry was an 18-year-old first year Kinesiology student at SFU and a member of the SFU junior varsity basketball team in 1977 when he was diagnosed with bone cancer. His right leg was amputated six inches above the knee, and he underwent chemotherapy. While in hospital, Terry was so overcome by the suffering of other cancer patients, many of them young children, that he decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research.
Terry began his Marathon of Hope on April 12, 1980 in St. John’s, Newfoundland. On September 1, after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 miles), Terry was forced to stop running outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario because cancer had appeared in his lungs. An entire nation was stunned and saddened. Terry passed away on June 28, 1981 at the age 22.
Few people are aware of the physical enormity of what Terry did: he ran 26 miles per day, 7 days per week, on pavement, with an artificial limb that required a hop every step. It was a journey that Canadians will never forget. His courage, determination, humanitarianism, and selflessness have been an inspiration to millions of people.
Since Terry’s death in 1981, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised over 650 million dollars worldwide for cancer research. This money has been used to produce better treatments for many different types of cancers. These newer treatments reduce suffering and prolong life and bring us closer to an eventual cure for cancer.
In November 2004, Canadians voted Terry Fox the second Greatest Canadian of all time, after Tommy Douglas, following a nationwide contest organized by CBC (over 1.2 million votes were cast). A 1999 national internet survey named him Canada’s greatest hero. And this famous Canadian hero whose legacy has inspired and helped so many people, was a student at Simon Fraser University!