Rolly Fox, Canadian cancer research activist, Dead at 80

Terrance Stanley “Terry” Fox was born on July 28, 1958, and died on June 28, 1981.

He was a Canadian athlete, humanitarian, and cancer research activist.

He had one leg amputated, he embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research, in 1980.

However, the spread of his cancer had eventually forced him to end his quest after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 mi), and ultimately cost him his life, his efforts resulted in a lasting, worldwide legacy.

First held in 1981, the annual Terry Fox Run, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world’s largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research; over C$650 million has been raised in his name.

He was a distance runner and basketball player for his Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, high school and Simon Fraser University.

Rolly Fox right leg was amputated in 1977 after he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, though he continued to run using an artificial leg.

Rolly also played wheelchair basketball in Vancouver, winning three national championships.

He started the Marathon of Hopes that he would cross-country run to raise money for cancer research, in 1980.

Rolly Fox hoped to raise one dollar from each of Canada’s 24 million people.

Rolly Fox began with little fanfare from St. John’s, Newfoundland in April and ran the equivalent of a full marathon every day.

He had become a national star by the time he reached Ontario; he made numerous public appearances with businessmen, athletes, and politicians in his efforts to raise money.

Rolly was forced to end his run outside Thunder Bay when the cancer had spread to his lungs.

Fox’s hopes of overcoming the disease and completing his marathon ended when he died nine months later.

Rolly Fox was the youngest person ever named a Companion of the Order of Canada.

Rolly Fox won the 1980 Lou Marsh Award as the nation’s top sportsman and was named Canada’s Newsmaker of the Year in both 1980 and 1981.

He’s now considered a national hero, he has had many buildings, roads and parks named in his honour.

Rolly Fox passed away at 80 yrs old.