More than 30 years ago the first Terry Fox Run was held to raise money for cancer research, and the Marathon of Hope continues to inspire.
At Simon Fraser University this month, the committee that organizes the local walk/run event is working with the Terry Fox Foundation and the Terry Fox Research Institute to encourage other Canadian universities and colleges to hold their own Terry Fox Day events on Sept. 18.
The national initiative, called Terry's CAUSE - Colleges And Universities for Student Engagement - will focus on engaging students to raise awareness about cancer prevention, celebrate Fox's legacy and fundraise for cancer research.
"I am delighted that the annual SFU walk/run event, which has a proud history at the university, has become the model for a national campus initiative," SFU president Andrew Petter said in a recent press release.
Terry Fox was an SFU kinesiology student and a member of the Clan junior varsity basketball team in 1977 when he was diagnosed with bone cancer.
Darrell Fox, Terry's brother and a special advisor with the institute, is spearheading the initiative and noted Terry began planning and training for his Marathon of Hope while he was a first-year university student.
"He would be pleased and honoured to know that students here and across Canada continue to be inspired by him and are joining together to support his dream - our dream - of ending cancer," said Fox.
SFU began celebrating its annual Terry Fox Day at the Burnaby campus in 2001, holding run/walk events and awarding an annual Terry Fox Medal. More recently, run/walk events have been established at the Surrey and Vancouver campuses.
Since 2003, when the committee began keeping statistics, the event has raised more than $115,000 for cancer research.
Other participating universities this year include Carleton University, Dalhousie University, McMaster University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Queen's University, the University of Calgary and the University of Toronto.
The number is expected to grow next year.
For more information, visit www.terryfox.org/terryscauseoncampus.