OTD: Marathon of Hope telethon raises $10 million

On today’s date in 1980, a national telethon supporting Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope raised more than $10 million for cancer research.

While Fox, a Winnipeg native, would eventually succumb to his cancer the following year, the prior 12 months saw the 20-year-old man collect money from people along the side of the road. He also received funding and supplies from the Canadian Cancer Society, among other organizations.

He began the marathon on April 12, 1980, when he dipped his leg in the Atlantic Ocean before starting towards Vancouver, on Canada’s Pacific coast; however, Fox’s health began deteriorating near the halfway mark, and on Sept. 1, he asked to go to the hospital because of chest pain. Doctors later discovered Fox’s cancer had spread to his lungs.

He ran 5,373 kilometres in 143 days and raised more than $11 million for cancer research. Shortly after the end of Fox’s run, CTV held a telethon that raised another $10 million.

By February 1981, donations hit $24.17 million, reaching Fox’s goal of $1 for each of Canada’s 24 million residents. Since its inception in 1981, the Terry Fox Run has raised more than $650 million via the Terry Fox Foundation.

In 2005, the Royal Canadian Mint struck a $1 coin commemorating Terry Fox. The coin has a weight of seven grams, a diameter of 26.5 mm and a 1.75-mm thickness. It features the uncrowned effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse.

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