It was 34 years ago today that Terry Fox was forced to abandon his Marathon of Hope in Thunder Bay, Ont., 135 days and over 5,000 kilometres after it started at St. John’s, Newfoundland, on April 12, 1978.
Cancer had returned and spread to his lungs. Fox was hospitalized in Vancouver where he died the following year.
Since then, Canada has celebrated this great Canadian with commemorative coins and stamps.
“Terry Fox holds a unique place in the heart of this nation,” David C. Dingwall, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint said in March, 2005, when the Mint held a ceremony to unveil the 2005 Terry Fox circulation coin. “His achievements are a testament to the belief that ordinary Canadians, armed with courage, conviction, and a dream, can accomplish truly extraordinary things. In that spirit, the one dollar coin will help us all remember how an extraordinary man came to embody the Canadian spirit.”
Terry Fox’s image is featured on the reverse of the coin and was designed by Mint Engraver, Stan Witten. The obverse features the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt. The coin was conceived in collaboration with the Terry Fox Foundation and the Fox family and was designed to reflect Terry Fox, both the man, and his vision.
The detail on his face shows Terry’s determination and anguish as he ran the equivalent of a full marathon daily across Canadian terrain. He is also wearing the t-shirt he wore for most of his run – emblazoned with the words Marathon of Hope.
The background on the coin is representative of the Northern Ontario route he took along the shore of Lake Superior, featuring the Canadian Shield that includes a white pine and stunted black spruce trees.
Terry’s heroic efforts have been commemorated on stamps as well. He first appeared on a 30-cent stamp issued in 1982, two years after the Marathon of Hope. The second time was on a 46-cent stamp as part of the 1999 millenium series.
The Terry Fox Foundation strives to maintain the heroic efforts and integrity that Terry himself embodied. It is a grass-roots organization that relies heavily on the generosity of the private sector to support its activities. There is one national, and nine provincial Terry Fox Foundation offices in Canada. Currently, 84 cents of every dollar raised goes to fund cancer research. For more information, visit www.terryfoxrun.org.