© Copyright – 2017 – Victoria Sports News
Close friends, relatives, fans and followers were at the opening today of the Terry Fox exhibit at the Royal BC Museum. The exhibit – titled Running to the Heart of Canada – is on its final journey having opened in Quebec in 2015. Working its way across Canada, it is fitting that Victoria is its last stop – a stop that should have been Terry’s had not cancer finally taken its toll. It is also poignant that it is 37 years to the day that the Marathon of Hope started.
In an emotional grand opening RBCM’s CEO Jack Lohman explained how Darrell Fox, Terry’s brother, and Rob Reid, a long-time supporter of Terry’s legacy, approached the museum to see how the thousands of memorabilia could be preserved and for all to see. “Terry made a huge impact on Canadian life – his image is on many recognizable items, and hosting this exhibition is a fitting way to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday this year.”
Both Darrell and Doug Alward – Terry’ best friend and who accompanied him on his marathon of hope in 1980 – remembered Terry as a selfless, determined individual who wouldn’t consider quitting, even when he was seriously ill. And he was doing something that was unheard of – running a marathon a day. “Back then running 10k a day was considered an achievement,” Alward remembers. “I will never remember the first marathon we ran out of St John’s on April 12, 1980 – it nearly killed us. Not just the distance but it was bleak and cold. But Terry always pushed himself to the limit and in many ways the cancer made him humble – he knew he was doing it for his country.”
Bill Vigars – Terry’s manager – remembers him for his personality. He was working for the Canadian Cancer Society at the time but joined Terry in New Brunswick until the dream ended in Thunder Bay. “He always had a big smile and had such a determination despite the pain. When you heard him talk it was always from the heart – he affected so many people.”
The exhibition contains thousands of artifacts from the Fox family’s collection, letters, diaries, video clips, and of course the van, lovingly restored now sitting proudly in the museum’s entrance.
The exhibition is here until October 1 but what then? Where will this legacy move on to? Rob Reid would like to see it in the Terry Fox Research Institute, in Vancouver. “The TFRI has a dual role – it is a cancer research institute, but it could also be Terry’s future home, a place where history and education come together. He is part of Canada’s DNA after all,” says Reid.