Seed of in­spi­ra­tion

Port aux Basques spe­cial stop in Marathon of Hope


The gen­eros­ity of peo­ple along the south­west coast is cred­ited for be­ing Terry Fox’s in­spi­ra­tion for want­ing to raise $1 for ev­ery Cana­dian dur­ing his epic Marathon of Hope.

Be­fore reach­ing the area, some say Mr. Fox’s goal was to raise $1 mil­lion. But af­ter rais­ing nearly $10,000 from res­i­dents of the south­west coast, who num­bered about the same, his dream grew.

That’s one of the rea­sons Donna Ball of Par­adise thinks Port aux Basques and the prov­ince should do more to rec­og­nize their links to the his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant run.

A let­ter from Ms. Ball was read our at a re­cent Port aux Basques Town Coun­cil meet­ing. The let­ter, which was orig­i­nally sent to the pro­vin­cial depart­ment of tourism, and copied to the town, other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and the Fox Foun­da­tion, sug­gested more needs to be done to hon­our Mr. Fox’s legacy in New­found­land.

Spe­cific to Port aux Basques, Ms. Ball sug­gested a gar­den-like site be de­vel­oped to bring more at­ten­tion to the area’s role in the Marathon of Hope. She added next year would be an ideal time to un­veil such a site, as it is both come home year and the 30th an­niver­sary of the marathon.

Coun­cil­lors gen­er­ally agreed the idea to do some­thing to com­mem­o­rate this his­toric con­nec­tion was a good idea. The coun­cil de­cided to write a let­ter of sup­port for Ms. Ball’s re­quest to the prov­ince. HIS­TOR­I­CAL SIG­NIF­I­CANCE The Gov­ern­ment of Canada named Mr. Fox a per­son of his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance at a cer­e­mony in St. John’s in Septem­ber.

The event in­cluded the un­veil­ing of a new plaque for Fox ac­knowl­edg­ing his of­fi­cial sta­tus.

Heather Strong, rep­re­sent­ing the Terry Fox Foun­da­tion in New­found­land and Labrador, said “Can­cer took Terry far too soon, but not be­fore his place in Cana­dian his­tory and our hearts had been firmly ce­mented.”

Terry now stands as one of only 31 peo­ple in this prov­ince, ac­cord­ing to the His­toric Sites and Mon­u­ments Board of Canada, to have been of­fi­cially ac­knowl­edged as a per­son of his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance on the na­tional stage.

His new com­mem­o­ra­tive plaque will be placed near the ex­ist­ing Fox memo­rial in St. John’s.

It is one of three placed across Canada. The oth­ers are lo­cated in Port Co­quit­lam, B.C., where he was raised, and just out­side Thun­der Bay, On­tario, where his marathon run was forced to an end.

Fred Fox re­called his brother’s run across New­found­land. He spoke on his own fam­ily’s at­tempts to re­trace the route at St. John’s years later and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing, “the cold of that time of year here in New­found­land” and the dif­fi­culty of run­ning the “ very hilly No. 1 high­way.

“ Terry did his part in 1980 by run­ning an av­er­age of 26 miles ev­ery day for 143 days, rais­ing, not only funds, but aware­ness of the dev­as­tat­ing toll that can­cer can have.”

Terry was di­ag­nosed with os­teogenic sar­coma at the age of 18.

The can­cer-stricken Fox be­gan his Marathon of Hope, by dip­ping his ar­ti­fi­cial foot in the At­lantic Ocean in St. John’s Apr. 12,1980.

His can­cer treat­ment to that time had in­cluded the am­pu­ta­tion of his right leg six inches above the knee.

Af­ter his ges­ture at the wa­ter’s edge, he started to run. He wanted to run clear across the coun­try.

Along the way, he met now-St. John’s city Coun. Shan­nie Duff. Speak­ing at the St. John’s as­sem­bly, Mrs. Duff said she had “ac­tu­ally wor­ried about him,” cred­it­ing her con­cern for the young man with the “curly head of hair” to a mother’s in­stincts.

“I don’t think any of us un­der­stood what Terry would do for Canada.”

Terry’s goal of $1 for can­cer re­search for ev­ery per­son in Canada was ex­ceeded be­fore he was forced to end the run Sept. 1, 1980.

Stu­dents con­tinue to be ma­jor sup­port­ers the Terry Fox Foun­da­tion, and through it, the Terry Fox Re­search In­sti­tute. In 2008, three mil­lion stu­dents par­tic­i­pated in Na­tional School Run Day, rais­ing $12 mil­lion for can­cer re­search in Canada.

The fol­low­ing is the word­ing on the com­mem­o­ra­tive plaque in St. John’s:

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