Terrance Stanley ‘Terry’ Fox (July 28, 1958 – June 28, 1981) was a Canadian athlete & cancer activist. He became famous for the “Marathon of Hope”, a cross- Canada run to raise money for cancer research, which he himself ran with a prosthetic leg. In 1979, Terry wrote to the Canadian Cancer Society to support his run. He ran close to 42 kilometers a day through Canada’s Atlantic Provinces and after 143 days and 5,373 kilometers, Terry was forced to stop running because cancer had appeared in his lungs. Terry passed away on June 28, 1981 at the age 22, leaving a sad and stunned nation behind. (More information on www.terryfox.org)
The Terry Fox Run is an annual non-competitive charity event held over 600 cities in 53 countries to raise money exclusively for cancer research. Another Canadian, who had lost his son to cancer, sought Terry’s approval to hold an annual run in Terry’s name and raise funds for Cancer research. The event is held every year on the second Sunday following Labour Day in Canada. Since its inception, it has raised via the ‘Terry Fox Foundation’ over C$650 million till date. The run itself is informal which means that the distance often varies, usually between 5 and 15 kilometers and participation is considered to be more important than completing the set distance. Unlike other major fund raising events, the Terry Fox Run has no corporate sponsorship. This is in accordance with Terry Fox’s original wishes of not seeking fame or fortune from his endeavor. During his cross-Canada run, he turned down every endorsement he was offered (including from major multinationals such as McDonald’s) as he felt that it would detract from his goal of creating public awareness. The Terry Fox Runs have no advertisements on any race related materials (such as t-shirts, banners, etc).
Terry Fox Run Chennai, in its Ninth year, was brought to Chennai in 2009 by a teenage Akash Dube, a cancer patient, with the help of the Rotary Club of Madras East & IIT Madras. He had participated in the Terry Fox Run Dubai since a child. The last 8 runs have been an amazing success with more than 30,000 supporters participating, and many celebrities giving their support. Over INR 1.75 crores has been donated by large and small contributors that has been given to cancer research. Akash Dube fought his cancer with zest and courage, but succumbed in 2012.
We, at the Rotary Club of Madras East, have taken up the baton to continue his legacy – The Run; and ensure that his spirit lives on!
The Terry Fox Foundation has been highly appreciative of the immense involvement of the two lead organisations – the Rotary Club of Madras East and the IIT, Madras; and has presented Plaques to them, to laud their efforts.