Terry Fox began his cross-Canada journey 32 years ago, on April 12th 1980. Source: Vancouver Sun.

On this date in 1980, a 21-year-old man from Port Coquitlam dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean at St. John’s in Newfoundland.

Five months and 5,373 kilometres later, Terry Fox would end his Marathon of Hope just east of Thunder Bay, Ont. He was forced to give up his bid to run the breadth of Canada by the recurrence of the cancer that had cost him his right leg when he was 18.

His heroic efforts, running an average of 40 kilometres a day, had by then captured the hearts of Canadians and people around the world. When he ended his bid he had raised $1.7 million for cancer research.

Donations continued to pour in. By the end of 1980 they totalled $24 million. The Terry Fox Foundation has since raised more than half a billion dollars for cancer research through the annual Terry Fox Run, held across Canada and around the world.

Today, four bronze statues of Terry Fox – built to last a thousand years, says artist Douglas Coupland – stand on the Terry Fox Plaza at BC Place as a lasting memorial to a genuine Canadian hero.

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