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Mile Zero Statue Unveiled in St. John’s

A bronze statue commemorating the moment Fox dipped his leg in the ocean in St. John’s, Newfoundland, is unveiled near the exact spot where it happened. Rolly Fox, Terry’s father, attends the packed ceremony. “It's emotional being here today,” he said. “We were in Thunder Bay when he had to finish, but we wished we'd been at the start of his run.… We saw him off at Vancouver on the 7th of April, 1980, but we wished we'd come with him here.”

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Fox Writes to the Canadian Cancer Society

His letter sums up his motivation for the Marathon of Hope: “The night before my amputation, my former basketball coach brought me a magazine with an article on an amputee who ran in the New York Marathon. It was then I decided to meet this new challenge head on and not only overcome my disability, but conquer it in such a way that I could never look back and say it disabled me… [A]s I went through the 16 months of the physically and emotionally draining ordeal of chemotherapy, I was rudely awakened by the feelings that surrounded and coursed through the cancer clinic. There were faces with the brave smiles, and the ones who had given up smiling. There were feelings of hopeful denial, and the feelings of despair. My quest would not be a selfish one. I could not leave knowing these faces and feelings would still exist, even though I would be set free from mine. Somewhere the hurting must stop... and I was determined to take myself to the limit for this cause.” In addition to the Canadian Cancer Society and the War Amputations of Canada, Fox also secures sponsorship from Imperial Oil, Adidas, the Ford Motor Company and others.

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Bristol, New Brunswick (2,214 km)

From Terry’s journal: “The first few miles were the usual torture. My foot was blistered bad, but my stump wasn’t too bad.… Today I had tremendous support. Everybody honked and waved. People all over looked out of their homes and stores and cheered me on.”

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Highway 185, Quebec (2,426 km)

Fox writes in his journal, “The only people here who know about the run are the truckers and the out-of-province people. Everyone else wants to stop and give me a lift.” Fox would later complain that drivers in Quebec, where the run was barely publicized, were “continually forcing me off the road. I was actually honked off once… It is so frustrating.” In Ontario, the provincial police begin to escort Fox as he runs.

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Terry Fox Dies

After undergoing months of treatment for cancer, Terry contracts pneumonia in June 1981 and goes into a coma on 27 June. He dies at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster at 4:35 a.m., one month before his 23rd birthday. The federal government orders flags across the country to be flown at half-mast. Addressing the House of Commons, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau says, “It occurs very rarely in the life of a nation that the courageous spirit of one person unites all people in the celebration of his life and in the mourning of his death.” Trudeau expresses, on behalf of all Canadians, “our profound gratitude for the gift which Terry gave to all of us, the gift of his own boundless courage and hope.”