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Terry Fox is every kid, says brother

By September 15, 2022No Comments
Terry Fox’s older brother Fred, left, was toured by Jim Mcardle on a speaking tour of four local schools about Terry’s 1980 Marathon of Hope for cancer research. Geoff Lee Meridian Source

 

Students in Lloydminster have discovered there’s a little bit of Terry Fox in each of them.

His oldest brother Fred imparted that message to students at four schools on Tuesday, with Fox runs starting this week at both school divisions to raise money for cancer.

“I think Terry showed everybody that one person can make a difference and so can they,” said Fred Fox with Holy Rosary High School being his first speaking engagement.

“No matter what they do in their life in the future, they can make a difference. That’s what Terry wanted to do, to make a difference in others’ lives.”

A total of 18 schools in the Lloydminster area are doing runs, with the annual public run/walk at Bud Miller All Seasons Park on Sept. 18 from 9 a.m. to noon.

This year’s theme is, I’m Not a Quitter to paraphrase Terry’s exact quote, ‘Nobody is ever going to call me a quitter.’

Students across Canada learn Fox was a one-legged Canadian runner who embarked on his cross-country Marathon of Hope in 1980 to fund a cure for cancer. 

He was forced to stop his run outside of Thunder Bay, Ont. because cancer had appeared in his lungs. Fox died on June 28, 1981, at the age of 22.

What students may not know is that they are just like Terry when he was a kid. 

“Terry was just an average ordinary kid. He had to work harder than anybody else to achieve the goals that he did, and they can do the same thing,” said Fred.

It also helps that Terry is forever young.

“He’s always going to be that 21 or 22-year-old kid on the Marathon of Hope and I think kids can relate to that,” said Fred.

Terry ran a marathon a day motivated by a no-quit attitude.

“That’s what Terry’s mindset was on the Marathon of Hope,” said Fred.

“Terry truly believed if he ever stopped running he’d be letting so many cancer patients down. That’s what kept him going mile after mile after mile.”

Fred says he hopes his speaking tour to students in Lloydminster drums up some interest and donations for this year’s 42nd Terry Fox Run.

“Maybe the kids will take it home and tell their mom and dad, then their mom and dad will help support financially and make a donation,” said Fred.

More than $20,000 has been raised in the last seven years by the four schools he visited this week in the Border City.

The Terry Fox run in Lloydminster has raised more than $187,029 since 1984 for cancer research and treatment.

To date, more than $850 million has been raised for cancer research in Fox’s name through the annual runs, held across Canada and around the world.

Fred says he’s seen big improvements in cancer treatments since the first Terry Fox Run in 1981.

“Cancer diagnosis is so much better than it was 10, 20, 45 years ago, since Terry was first diagnosed and people are surviving longer,” he said.

Fred says Canada has some of the best researchers in the world making progress every day.

“With Terry’s type of cancer (bone) he was told in 1977 he might have a 30 per cent chance of surviving. Today, it’s around 80 per cent,” he said.

Fred works for the Terry Fox Foundation and is happy to see Terry’s legacy last so long due to a couple of factors including Terry’s honesty and integrity.

“The most important thing is Terry wanted to run across Canada to help other people and raise money for cancer research,” he said with no personal benefit.

Fred says when Terry was forced to stop in Thunder Bay, it was Canadians who responded with cards, letters, and donations.

“And when he passed they wanted to continue this for years to come. That’s why we’re here today 42 years later,” he said.

Fred will windup a two-week cross-Canada speaking tour on Friday when he heads home to Maple B.C. to participate with his family in this Sunday’s Terry Fox Run.