Terry Fox — a determined young athlete who seemingly willed himself into the spirit of an entire nation — will be featured on a stamp in a set commemorating Canada’s sesquicentennial.
Fox, a Winnipeg native, was just 18 in March 1977 when doctors discovered he had an aggressive form of bone cancer and amputated his right leg 6 inches above the knee.
Three years later, Fox doggedly set out on a cross-country fundraiser on April 12, 1980 by dipping his artificial leg in the Atlantic Ocean in St. John’s, Newfoundland and started running westward, intent on raising money to fight cancer.
Dubbed the “Marathon of Hope,” Fox managed about 26 miles a day, but was disappointed by a lukewarm reception through the Maritimes and Quebec. But by the time he reached Ontario, word had spread about the handsome young athlete with the moppish curly hair and the skip gait who was running the equivalent of a marathon every day.
Money, cheers, and honors started pouring in. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, hockey great Bobby Orr, and actress Maggie Smith were just a few of the many celebs who came out to meet the courageous young runner. He would receive the distinguished insignia of a Companion of the Order of Canada.
Fox bravely hobbled his way nearly to Thunder Bay, Ontario. But the Marathon of Hope sadly ended September 1, 1980 as Fox could no longer run. Cancer had spread to his lungs. Fox covered in 5,373 kilometers (3,338 miles), more than halfway across the country, in 143 days. He died June 28, 1981, a month before his 23rd birthday.