Before students at Holy Family School will tie up their sneakers for their annual Terry Fox Run, they learned just how much their fundraising efforts matter from Terry Fox’s brother.
Fred Fox thanked the Red Deer students for holding 20 runs over the years and raising close to $23,000 to keep Terry’s dream to fight cancer alive.
“Today over $850 million has been raised and you guys have played a huge part in that. Survival rates for cancer diagnosis are so much better today than they were 10, 20, 45 years ago when Terry was diagnosed,” Fred told Holy Family students while on a speaking tour at central Alberta schools on Thursday.
Fred showed childhood photos of Terry and told stories about his brother’s steadfast determination to finish whatever he started even from a young age.
At 18, Terry was diagnosed with bone cancer, his right leg was amputated, and he underwent 16 months of chemotherapy. But it wasn’t long before he was playing wheelchair basketball, relearned how to run, and decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research.
Fred said it was astonishing that Terry ran what equaled a marathon or more each day during his campaign with a prosthetic leg that was only meant for walking. Back then there were no prosthetics designed for running.
“What kept Terry going were all those people he saw going through cancer treatment.”
Fred said Terry would also stay on target running down Canada’a highways by focusing on something to run to in the distance like a telephone pole, or tree, or curve in the road, to keep moving forward.
“Before he knew it he would accomplish that big goal of running 42 km or 50 km in a day. Terry ran one step at a time.”
Terry was forced to quit his run when his cancer returned, but before he died in 1981, his dream of raising $24 million, or $1 for every Canadian, came true.
Fred said his brother changed the landscape for cancer fundraising.
“Who knows where we would be? It’s not just the money we’ve raised. There’s been all kinds of money raised for cancer research by other organizations that may not be there today if not for what Terry started, here and in countries around the world.”
Fred also spoke to students at West Park Elementary School on Thursday.