74-year-old Betty Fox, mother of the Canadian hero, Terry Fox's, died this past Friday. She had been seriously ill, but sources say she wasn't suffering from cancer.
Back in 1977 her son Terry lost his leg to bone cancer. Overwhelmed by seeing others in his predicament suffering, he endeavoured to run across Canada in the 1980 "Marathon of Hope" to raise money to fight the disease. He ended up running 5,373 kilometres -- all the way from St. John’s to Thunder Bay -- before he had to call it quits. He died the following year, at just 22-years of age. Since that historic run, his legacy has provided over $550 million for cancer research worldwide.
Behind every hero lies a great woman. Betty was known as the "driving force" behind that colossal fundraising operation. Through her own drive and determination, she continued to organize races and raise funds. She played a vital role in the creation of a foundation and research institute.
"When you think about the fact that Terry's run was, you know, 30 years ago and that it's still very much alive and that people who were not even born when Terry did his run are still running today... That's an incredible accomplishment," said Fred Tinck, Terry Fox's high school running coach.
News of her death inspired many to voice their condolences on the Terry Fox Foundation website. “Canada will miss her and the world was made a better place because she lived in it for so long — heart, soul and devotion to her son and a cause,” wrote Serena Payne.
According to the Canadian Press, Betty and Terry initially didn't see eye to eye about his proposed marathon. Mother and son eventually reconciled. 143 days and nearly 5,400 kilometres later, however, the cancer had returned, this time to his lungs. He was forced to abandon the marathon outside of Thunder Bay, Ont.
Little did his mother know he -- and she -- would go on to make history.
Image Credit: The Globe And Mail