Skip to content

Reasons why people support the Terry Fox Run

If my cancer hadn't been diagnosed years earlier, I wouldn’t actually be here today. So I’m very lucky to have the Terry Fox Foundation contribute dollars to much-needed research

On a rainy, gloomy Sunday morning, dozens of people laced up their running shoes and headed to the North Bay waterfront to support the Terry Fox Run.

North Bay is one of roughly 600 communities across the country hosting runs to keep Terry’s dream alive, by fundraising for cancer research.     

In 1977, at the age of 18, the young Canadian lost his leg to cancer.

Fox was determined to raise money for cancer research and set out in 1980 to run across Canada on an artificial leg, running the equivalent of a marathon every day.

The run was dubbed the Marathon of Hope.

The theme for this year’s run is “I’m not a quitter.”

Unable to beat cancer when it returned, this time in his lungs, Fox’s wish was for the Marathon of Hope to continue.  The first Terry Fox Run was held in 1981.

Advancements made in cancer research since then have changed the way many cancers are now being treated.

“The foundation has ultimately managed their mission because if Terry were diagnosed today, he would have been cured, and he would have possibly even been able to keep his leg,” said Carla Tucker, North Bay Run coordinator.

“Seventy-eight cents on the dollar goes directly into research.”

Often when people think of Terry Fox, the word “hope” instantly springs to mind.

“The name Terry Fox to me means courage, hope, and community.”

Ten years ago at the tender age of 21, Justine Mallah was diagnosed with cancer.

“I really care about the cause. I actually worked for the Terry Fox Foundation a number of years ago. The Terry Fox Foundation and the run contribute so much to society. Terry Fox was an idol and an icon and still is today,” said Mallah.

The young woman says she’s running because of all the people she met getting chemo treatment at the same time she was there.

She says her outlook would not have been favourable if her cancer diagnosis was made years earlier.

“I wouldn’t actually be here today. So I’m very lucky to have the Terry Fox Foundation contribute so many dollars to much-needed research.”

North Bay run coordinator Carla Tucker has been volunteering for the past seven years.

The local run began in 1985.

“Terry is my hero because of his legacy. Very few people especially in this day and age can have the impact that he had back then, resonate through four decades and we’re still every day remembering him like it was yesterday,”

Terry Fox is Joanne Wallace’s hero.

She has attended many of the North Bay runs, reflecting throughout the kilometres everything Fox managed to accomplish for so many people.

“The thought of running a marathon a day just inspires me. It is unbelievable what he’s ignited in all of us, to help keep his dream alive and keep the research going,” says Wallace who recently visited the Terry Fox Memorial near Thunder Bay, where his cross-Canada journey came to an unfortunate end with the return of his cancer.

“Seeing it again 32 years later is just so incredible. I recommend to everybody if they have the opportunity, to stop by and see it.”

Everyone has a  personal reason to support the Terry Fox Run, including the young U13A North Bay Ice Boltz hockey team.

“We’re out here because our coach Emma was diagnosed with cancer over the summer and we really want to show her that she’s not alone in this fight,” said assistant coach Ruby Pilatzke.

“And we think it is awesome to have an event like this because Terry did so much for everyone, so it is important for the kids to see that it is important to be involved in the community and this is a great way to do that.”

Dave Minden and his wife Jane both have a long history with the Terry Fox Run.

“Jane got into it first around the very first year and I got dragged along,” laughed Minden.

“We organized a small run in Astorville on Lake Nosbonsing Road and it was a modest success. Then in the years following I was teaching at Almaguin Highlands Secondary School and we started to organize runs down there and we did that every year through the ’80s and into the ’90s, and we’ve been coming here (North Bay) ever since then.”  

Jane Minden explains why it is important for her to support the run.

“My mom had breast cancer, and I’ve had a lot of skin cancer and David’s had cancer so it is a good thing to try and support this.”

To date, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised over $800 million worldwide for cancer research.

Since the run started in North Bay back in 1985, the community has raised just over $555,000 with nearly $8,000 raised at Sunday’s run,  with more still to come.

The Terry Fox School Run is scheduled to take place before the end of the month.

Anyone wishing to make a donation can go to or North Bay Terry Fox Run on Facebook and follow the links.