Terry Fox, a Canadian athlete who was an active teenager, ran cross country and played college basketball, when he started experiencing knee pain which increased gradually to a stage where he agree to pay a visit to his doctor. Since that visit, he received the news that changed the course of his life and shook the outlook for his future.
At that doctor’s appointment Terry was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma bone cancer. His doctor told him that if he wanted to live, his right leg would need to be amputated above the knee.
Three weeks after his surgery, Terry was learning to walk with the help of an artificial leg. But the road to recovery wasn't easy at all. The time spent in recovery made a mark on him that was irreversible. He witnessed suffering like he had never encountered before: the screams of cancer patients around him and young, once capable bodies plagued by cancer.
When he left the treatment center, he knew that he was one of the lucky ones. He decided to do something to help those battling for their lives. The night before Terry underwent his operation, his high school basketball coach brought him a running magazine that featured an article about an amputee who had run in the New York City Marathon. That night Terry dreamt about running across Canada. This dream never left him, nor did the heavy burden to help the patients he had met in the recovery center.
Two years after his operation, Terry started training, with one artificial leg, so he could achieve his dream and raise money for cancer research. He trained for 15 months, running a total of 3,159 miles. Some days, he would run until his leg was raw and bleeding, but he didn’t relent running every day for 101 days until he could run 23 miles a day.
By September 1 1980, Terry had run a total of 143 days and 5,373 kilometres before his cancer made a devastating return. On June 28 1981, the cancer took his life before he could finish his journey, his story inspired countless people across the world, and he united a nation in the fight to end the hurt of those touched by cancer.
Terry's story became a symbol of hope, courage and selflessness. His legacy has inspired generations of Canadians from all walks of life, in deeply personal ways. Today his legacy is widely celebrated across Canada through annual Terry Fox runs, which are held every September to raise money for cancer research.