Terry Fox continues to make Canadians proud more than 35 years after his passing.
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A recent Abacus Data survey explored what, and who, makes Canadians proud of their country. The Ottawa-based polling and market research firm came up with a “wide-ranging” list of 78 items. The top result was “freedom to live our lives as we see fit.” The top person was Fox with 50 per cent of respondents saying he makes them feel “really proud.”
The Canadian runner is often considered one of the country’s most iconic figures as he embarked on what was known as the Marathon of Hope in 1980. The cross-Canada run, done in support of cancer awareness and research, began after Fox’s leg was amputated due to bone cancer.
He ran 5,373 kilometres in 143 days before stopping the run as the cancer has spread to his lungs. He was 22 at the time of his death on June 28, 1981.
“The place that Terry Fox holds is one of the most remarkable findings, in my view,” says chairman Bruce Anderson. “His struggle with cancer is something so many can relate to, and his dogged effort to bring visibility and raise money for cancer research by launching a run along Canada’s national highway touch many different chords that illustrate what Canadians admire about the country and aspire to emulate.”
The Terry Fox Foundation has raised more than $650 million to date and the annual Terry Fox Run is held annually to raise money in the iconic runner’s name. The Terry Fox Run is the world’s largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research.
Fox was the only person to rank in the top-10 of the survey. Former hockey star Wayne Gretzky and singer Celine Dion came in at 14th and 15th respectively. Other items to be ranked in the top-10 include “open-mindedness towards others,” politeness, the Rocky Mountains and maple syrup.
According to the organization, the survey was conducted online with 1,848 Canadians aged 18 and over from Dec. 12-14, 2016. Data were weighted to match Canada’s population, according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region.