We recently spoke with Fred Fox about his brother and the work The Terry Fox Foundation has done to date raising funds for cancer research. The Terry Fox run this year was done a bit differently due to COVID-19 and the limitations of in-person events. The organization created new ways for people to organize and fundraise while keeping people safe.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
The Terry Fox Foundation honours the vision and spirit of an iconic Canadian while raising critical funds for cancer research. As a leading national charitable organization, the Terry Fox Foundation plays a vital role in building community, engaging more than 20,000 passionate volunteers and 3.3 million students in nearly 10,000 annual fundraising events across the country.
What problem does it aim to solve?
Through the generous support of our donors, partners, and volunteers, The Terry Fox Foundation has raised more than $850 million and funded 1,300 innovative cancer research projects, bringing hope and health to millions of Canadians.
When did you start/join it?
I watched as my brother ran in 1980, with fierce determination, an average of 42 kilometres every day for 143 days. While Terry was forced to end his run on September 1, 1980, his dream of raising $1 for every Canadian was realized in early 1981- the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope fund totalled $24.17 million.
What made you want to get involved?
As a family, we were involved from the point of Terry telling us in 1979 that he was going to run across Canada to raise funds for cancer research. I did what I could to be involved back in 1980, but I only spent a few days with Terry at 2 different times during the Marathon of Hope. I have participated in every Terry Fox Run since 1981, but in 1994 I responded to a personal need to be more closely involved in continuing Terry’s dream of fundraising for cancer research and joined The Terry Fox Foundation as Provincial Director for BC/Yukon and later the TFF National office. It has been so fulfilling to work with so many passionate Terry Foxers from all over Canada that work so hard to continue what Terry started in 1980.
What was the situation like when you started?
Terry’s Marathon of Hope took place in 1980 with the simple objective of informing Canadians of the importance of finding a cure for cancer.
How has it changed since?
On May 26, 1988, The Terry Fox Run became a Trust, independent from the Canadian Cancer Society, as a registered public foundation. Now in its 41st year, the Terry Fox Run has evolved into the largest fundraising event in support of cancer research in the world, with events taking place in 33 countries across five continents annually – over 10,000 in Canada!
What more needs to be done?
The impact of COVID-19 on Canada’s health care system and cancer care throughout the country has been substantial and there continues to be a dire need to fund cancer research, combating the negative effects of disrupted screenings, surgeries, and interventions for years to come. We’re encouraging people to support and celebrate a favourite fall tradition that honours a national icon and makes a difference in the lives of millions of Canadians.
How can our readers help?
This year, we have a variety of new tools and technology to better support virtual fundraising efforts. This includes a newly designed website, a new Terry Fox Run mobile fundraising app, personalized QR codes for fundraisers across the country, text to donate functionality and tap to donate stations in various provinces.
Do you have any events coming up?
On Sunday, September 19, Canadians came together once again across the country to support or participate in the 41st annual Terry Fox Run for cancer research. The event was virtual this year, uniting dedicated supporters from coast to coast to coast in neighbourhoods across Canada as they participated in the virtual ‘Terry Fox Run. One Day. Your Way.’
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
I live in Maple Ridge, BC and am a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #88. The local Maple Ridge RCL does an amazing job of not only supporting veterans, but work so hard in supporting many grass root local community organizations with financial donations. They support the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Terry Fox Run.