In 1977, 18-year-old Terry Fox was diagnosed with bone cancer, resulting in one of the distance runner’s legs having to be amputated. Three years later, deeply affected by his fellow cancer patients’ stories of suffering, and on an artificial leg, Fox embarked on a historic Marathon of Hope, a cross-country run to raise money for cancer research.
To celebrate his bravery and contribution to raising cancer awareness, Google dedicated its Doodle on Sunday to Fox.
With little fanfare, Fox began his run in April 1980 in Newfoundland, on Canada’s eastern coast. Fox, who was running the equivalent of a full marathon every day, hoped to raise one dollar from each of Canada’s 24 million residents.
Fox made public appearances along the way, covering more than 3,300 miles in a little more than four months before the cancer’s spread forced him to end his journey.
Fox had raised $1.7 million before he was forced to abandon his run. Another $23 million came in from donors before Fox died nine months later. He was 22.
Fox’s fight to end cancer inspired the creation of the Terry Fox Run, an annual charity run to raise money for cancer research. The first run, held 39 years ago Sunday, attracted more than 300,000 participants and raised $3.5 million.
The all-inclusive, noncompetitive run is now held every year around the world and has helped raise more than $750 million for cancer research.