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Terry Fox

In 1980, Terrance Stanley Fox began the Marathon of Hope, an attempt to walk across the length of Canada from east to west in order to raise money for cancer research. He felt he had a debt to repay, believing he had beaten osteosarcoma after losing his knee to it.

Starting from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Fox ran approximately 42 kilometres a day through winter snow and summer heat before being forced to stop outside Thunder Bay, Ontario. The cancer has returned and spread to his lungs. 143 days and 5,373 kilometres after beginning his run, Fox was forced to return to hospital, where he died from the disease 10 months later. His story did not end there.

Terry Fox, as he is warmly known today, changed public perception of cancer, persons with disabilities and the impact one person can make. He has inspired millions around the world to join in the effort to find a cure for cancer every year through international Terry Fox Runs, raising over $850 million through the Terry Fox Foundation to date.

Halfway across the world in Australia, 13 year old Matthew Reid was watching Nine’s Wide World of Sport when Terry Fox’s story appeared. The Canadian’s story resonated with him, but it wasn’t until 35 years later, when he read a 2014 Reader’s Digest article, that inspiration struck. The former heavyweight boxer was 47 years old by then and ran almost 1000 kilometres from Melbourne to Sydney, stopping at schools along the way to spread Terry’s story and raising approximately $26,000 for the Starlight Foundation in Australia.

“Terry Fox is, to me, one of the greatest athletes of all time. The guy’s a champion and gutsy and all he wanted to do was help kids. He’s one of the greatest men of the 20th century.”

In 2018 Matt continued his fundraising, this time for a good friend, Troy Waters, who suffered from Leukemia at the time. The 75 kilometre run raised $25,000  for Troy’s family.

“If I wasn’t inspired by Terry Fox in 2014, I wouldn’t have been able to do the run for Troy. Because of Terry, I became a runner.”

After 6 years, an ankle surgery and a trip to Canada to meet the Fox family, Reid is preparing for his next trek, a 300+ km walk from his son’s high school to Caribou (a Canadian pub) in Kington Canberra. Along the way, he will stop at schools to spread Terry’s story. Matthew Reid will depart Sydney on March 28 and complete his journey on April 6.

He has so far raised $30,000 with goals to raise $40,000 for the Westmead hospital in Sydney.
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“It’s always about Terry Fox with me; I’m just the vehicle. I want to inspire our country, our kids, that you can do anything you put your mind to.”

The trek will raise money for the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, one of Australia’s leading specialist medical centres for children. But for Matthew Reid, there’s another goal.

“I want people to spread the word and celebrate the inspiration of Terry Fox. My biggest dream is a documentary, but first we’ll get things off the ground locally.”

Follow Matthew Reid’s run.


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Canada Down Under is an on-line portfolio of Canadian-Australian stories produced by the Consulate General of Canada in Sydney and other contributors.

Canada Down Under est un portefeuille en ligne d'histoires canado-australiennes produites par le Consulat général du Canada à Sydney et d'autres contributeurs.

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