Nation Commemorates Terry Fox with Annual Run, Raises Funds for Cancer Research


Across the vast expanses of Canada today, multitudes laced up their running shoes, hitting the pavement to honour Terry Fox, a national icon, whilst concurrently raising crucial funds for cancer research. The 43rd annual run transpired with robust attendance across British Columbia, including significant participation in Port Coquitlam, Fox’s hometown. Each stride taken, each breathless heartbeat echoed a tribute to loved ones and personal battles with cancer.

A 17-year old participant, Anna Solnickova, her life indelibly marked by bone cancer – identical to the one that afflicted Fox when he was slightly older – recalled her own harrowing journey. Her story turned ominous when the destructive disease surface in her lungs three years after the initial diagnosis, just as it happened to Fox. This compelling parallel with Fox’s life made her fearful of the future and intensely motivated her involvement with the Terry Fox Foundation. She candidly shared her initial fears, not knowing whether she was counting weeks, months or years left of her existence.

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The year 1980 bore witness to Terry Fox’s epic ‘Marathon of Hope’, his inspiring quest to run across Canada. His aim was simple – to accumulate funds for cancer research. Among the people supporting his noble adventure was Bill Vigars from the Canadian Cancer Society, who was assigned to accompany Fox, a young 18-year-old, on his odyssey across Eastern Canada.

Looking back, Vigars commented, “It altered the entire course of my life: my thoughts about life, my life’s priorities, and that summer became the most phenomenal adventure.” His belief in Fox’s determination and authenticity was unshakeable, confidently asserting, “I knew that the kid was going to do it. He was going to go all the way and he was the real deal.”

Among the numerous participants at the run, Fox’s enduring legacy provides a beacon of hope. For those who identify with his story, he represents far more than a national hero. In the words of Solnickova, “Terry is multitude things to so many different people. Unquestionably, he’s a national hero, but for many of us, he’s our saviour. Personally, if it wasn’t for him, I seriously believe I wouldn’t be alive today.”

According to the Terry Fox Foundation, a staggering $850 million has been raised to date for cancer research. This astounding figure is a testament to the depth of affection for Fox, a sentiment Vigars, now celebrating the day at Mile Zero in Victoria, emphasised. Even decades after his running days, Fox continues to rally communities, uniting them for a cause. Reflecting on this, Vigars stated, “In my mind, what you’re looking at is Terry still running.”