The Legacy of Terry Fox: An Interview with Darrell Fox | The Canadian Encyclopedia


The Legacy of Terry Fox: An Interview with Darrell Fox

Darrell Fox discusses his brother’s determination in a 2015 interview with Historica Canada


When Terry was diagnosed he didn’t know what cancer was. He’d never heard of the word. None of us did. So that was 1977. So there wasn’t an awareness. Terry himself was self-conscious initially about his surgery and amputation. It took him a while to be comfortable showing his artificial leg. He ran with jogging pants initially with grey shorts. So it took him a while to be comfortable to be able to share that. And I think that was part of his purpose. I mean it was first and foremost an opportunity to raise money. That’s what he wanted to do. He wanted to give back. But he also wanted to show what cancer can do and what it cannot do. It cannot destroy spirit. It cannot take away drive and determination. He still was capable of doing everything he did prior to losing a leg. It was just a little bit more difficult, as he put it.


(…) what did Terry think about? I think he — you know you’re always thinking about, as he shared, “I’m thinking about getting to that next lamp post, getting around that next corner in the road.” Life is about setting goals and those were very, very intermediate short-term goals for Terry but that’s how he made it through. And that’s how he thought his way through his runs. It was to picture himself running by that next visual landmark that was ahead of him. And then focusing on the next one. And that was a little bit easier mentally than having to visually think that I still have 4,000 miles to go or whatever or wherever he was in the country. That was a little overwhelming. And could be quite intimidating. But if he broke it down into smaller segments, that was a little bit easier.


I mean as much as I did not like that alarm clock going off at 4:30 every morning, once I was up I was like, “Let’s go,” just because I knew it was a new day. Terry’s going to meet new people. We’re going to cover ground we hadn’t covered the day before. We were going forward. We were getting closer to home. It was just this incredibly big adventure. So it’s easy to kind of say, “Okay, running into Nathan Philips Square and 10,000 people, that was great” — no question about that — but for me, being on the side of the road and one person giving Terry a big cheer and then breaking down into tears, that was equally moving.