Terry Fox: A True Canadian Icon

Written By Guest User, Posted on January 16, 2020

To some Canadians, Terry Fox was a cultural icon. To others, he was a hero who stood tall at the 11th hour. He graced us with the “Marathon of Hope” as he walked in the race against cancer. His bout with osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer) united a nation that was divided by culture, region and creed. But somehow, he saw past that, for a Canadian is a Canadian, through and through.

As an Indigenous man, the Vancouver, B.C. native demonstrated the value of self-empowerment and resilience. His late-grandmother, Marian Gladue, embodied that too. She had to, especially when being Métis, was looked down upon. Hence, her reluctance to discuss the matter before her passing.

Though her next of kin, notably her grandson, Darrell Fox, was more forthcoming on the matter, the historical injustices faced by Indigenous Peoples left behind wounds that have not healed for some. And for others, it watered down the true extent of their culture and legacy.

Make no mistake, “Terry Fox is Métis,” says Darrel Fox.

Before the establishment of Section 35 rights of the Canadian Charter, it was perceived uncool to embrace one’s Métis heritage. And attempts by “opportunists” to claim that ancestry (with no basis for financial benefit) remains a concern, exacerbated by no federal registry and different standards for provincial registries.

Terry Fox Body #1.jpg

Without getting into the politics of that, the struggles of many, like Marian Gladue, speak to the challenges of embracing one’s authentic heritage, historically. With the push to have Terry Fox featured on the Canadian five-dollar bill, perhaps we can embrace the Canadian icon as more than such, but as a man whose spirit uplifted an entire people.

For many, he was more than a cultural icon, but a “Father of Contemporary Canada” who embodied a true Canadian patriot.

Terry Fox Body #2.jpg

In an email correspondence with the Terry Fox Research Institute, the Terry Fox Family stated, “We are truly humbled by the incredible support from you over the past few days. Terry never sought recognition for his efforts, he simply wanted to raise funds for cancer research. Thank you for your continued passion and dedication for his vision.”

Annual Terry Fox Marathons are a testament to the resilience of the Canadian spirit. His advocacy for cancer treatment was commendable, with the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope fund raising 24.17 million dollars. The mission statement for The Terry Fox Foundation can be read here.

Guest User

Comments are closed.