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Terry Fox turns 30

This Sunday, Sept. 19 will mark the 30 th anniversary of Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope, and even Fox at his most optimistic would be amazed at how much he accomplished.

He started out with a goal of running across Canada, raising $1 for every Canadian for cancer research. There were 24 million Canadians then, and Fox wanted to reach each one.

With one leg amputated above the knee, he dipped his prosthetic leg in the chilly waters off Newfoundland on a spring morning then proceeded to run the equivalent of a marathon a day for some 143 days - covering an incredible 5,373 km. He developed a pain in his lungs in Northern Ontario, but endured it to complete another day of running before checking in to a hospital for an x-ray. He discovered then that the cancer that claimed his leg had returned. He vowed to fight it and return to his Marathon of Hope - but it wasn't to be. He passed away in 1981, and that year the very first Terry Fox Run was held in his honour.

Now, the run is held in hundreds of locations across Canada and in dozens of countries around the world. The goal of raising $24 million was smashed in the first year. The run has now raised over half a billion dollars for cancer research.

And still the run continues.

This Sunday, the Whistler Terry Fox Run will be staged out of the Four Seasons Resort. It's appropriate, as Four Seasons founder Isadore Sharp helped to come up with the idea for a charity run after meeting Fox in his hospital bed. And because of Sharp, Four Seasons hotels around the world host runs to raise money for the Terry Fox Foundation.

Because of the change in venue the courses will be a little different this year with a mix of paved and gravel trails in Lost Lake Park. There will be a 7.2 km sport run and a 4.2 km fun run, and as always the event is open to runners, walkers and riders.

The sign-on takes place at 9 a.m. at the hotel with a complimentary breakfast. Lululemon Athletica is conducting the warm-up and post-run stretch and the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre's youth ambassadors will send out the runners with a drum ceremony.

Participation is by donation, and the chief fundraiser will be the raffle. Tickets are $3 each and books of eight tickets are $20. The draw prizes are big this year, including a four-day round trip and round of golf at the Four Seasons in Dallas, Texas, plus stays at Four Seasons resorts in Hawaii and London. As well, there is a stay available at the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino, in addition to a variety of other prizes donated by supporters.

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