Government of Canada honours Terry Fox

PORT COQUITLAM, BC, Sept. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages and Member of Parliament for Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam, on behalf of the Honourable Jim Prentice, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today commemorated the national historic significance of Terry Fox with the unveiling of a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque.

"All Canadians are very proud of Terry Fox's accomplishments and I am honoured to be commemorating him in his home town," said Minister Moore. "In the 29 years since his run ended, Terry Fox's effort to raise both awareness and money in the fight against cancer continue to inspire Canadians and others around the world, and this has made him a true Canadian hero and icon. I am delighted to be here, with his family, to express my profound admiration for this inspiring young Canadian."

Terry Fox is recognized as a person of national historic significance for his outstanding feat of athleticism; his highly personal and inspirational humanitarian and philanthropic purpose; and as an enduring Canadian icon. A plaque was unveiled by Minister Moore along with Terry's parents, Betty and Rolly Fox, family members and friends at Port Coquitlam City Hall, where Terry received his Order of Canada and in the community he called home.

"Our family is proud to know that Terry is being recognized with a plaque by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. Terry wanted to set an example that would never be forgotten. It's been 29 years since Terry ran the Marathon of Hope, and to know he is seen as someone who has left a significant mark on Canadian History, it's clear that the example that he set, hasn't been forgotten by Canadians," said Terry's mother, Betty Fox.

"Terry Fox captivated Canadians, gave a new meaning to personal courage, and revolutionised fundraising," said Minister Prentice. "Today's commemoration is a great example of our government's commitment to honouring Canadians who have contributed to making our country great and our commitment to ensuring that their stories are never forgotten. Terry Fox fully deserves to be part of Canada's family of historic persons and I am very proud to officially recognize his courage."

Parks Canada manages a nation-wide network of national historic sites that commemorate persons, places and events that have shaped Canada's history and which offer visitors the opportunity for real and inspiring discovery. Parks Canada works to ensure that Canada's historic and natural heritage is presented and protected for the enjoyment, education, appreciation and inspired discovery of all Canadians, today and in the future.

    
    (Also available on the Internet at www.pc.gc.ca under Media Room.)


                                 BACKGROUNDER


                   Terrance Stanley "Terry" Fox (1958-1981)
    

Through the heroic nature of his "Marathon of Hope," its compassionate motivation, pan-Canadian scope and tragic interruption, Terry Fox has become an enduring icon. More than 25 years after his death, the qualities of both the man and his run still captivate the country and resonate deeply with Canadians.

Born on July 28, 1958 in Winnipeg and raised in Port Coquitlam BC, Fox was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma at the age of 18. When his cancer treatment included amputation of his right leg six inches above the knee, Fox became determined to conquer his infirmity "in such a way that I could never say it disabled me". He decided to run a marathon that would raise Canadians' awareness of cancer and funds for cancer research.

On April 12, 1980, Terry Fox dipped his artificial foot in the Atlantic Ocean off St. John's, Newfoundland, to begin his quest. He ran in all weather, sometimes accompanied, sometimes alone, setting a pace of about 40 km a day. He ran with a distinctive hopping gait that required tremendous energy because it forced him to work against gravity with each step, unlike the flowing rhythm of an able-bodied runner. His "Marathon of Hope," a 5,373-kilometre run, or nearly a marathon per day for 143 days, on one leg, is an outstanding feat of athleticism.

As the run progressed across six provinces, fascinated Canadians increasingly lined the route. Fox had a knack of engaging them in his cause: "If you have given a dollar, you are part of the Marathon of Hope," he said. Support for the run did not cease when Fox was forced to stop at Shuniah, outside of Thunder Bay on September 1, 1980 because his cancer had returned. Before his death, ten months later, Terry Fox had met his goal of raising one dollar for every man, woman and child in Canada.

Terry Fox challenged Canadians' perception of disabled athletes, their concept of their country and their commitment to fighting a devastating disease. His highly personal and inspirational humanitarian and philanthropic purpose has resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars being raised by himself and in his name to support cancer research for the benefit of Canadians and people around the world. His courage is unforgettable.

SOURCE Parks Canada

For further information: For further information: Frédéric Baril, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of the Environment, Tel.: (819) 997-1441; John Aldag, Manager, Historic Sites, Parks Canada, Coastal BC Field Unit, Tel.: (604) 513-4780, Cell.: (604) 897-9033


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