“I want to try the impossible to show it can be done.”
Today’s Doodle, illustrated by Toronto-based guest artist Lynn Scurfield, celebrates the Canadian athlete and humanitarian Terry Fox. After losing his leg to cancer, Fox embarked on the “Marathon of Hope”—a historic cross-Canada journey to raise awareness and money for cancer research.
Born on July 28, 1958, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Terry Fox was a natural competitor known for his commitment and fierce work ethic. In 1977, at the age of 18, Fox was diagnosed with bone cancer, resulting in the amputation of his right leg.
During his months of treatment, he was deeply affected by the stories of the patients around him, igniting in him an urgent desire to end the suffering cancer causes. Refusing to allow his amputation to slow him down, Fox decided to run across Canada, raising much-needed research funding to find a cure for cancer.
Three years following his diagnosis, on April 12, 1980, Fox humbly embarked on his “Marathon of Hope” in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Through biting winds and summer heat, he ran close to a marathon a day for over four months, an incredible 5,373 kilometres (approximately 3,339 miles) in all. Although a return of Fox’s cancer prevented him from completing the route, he achieved his goal of raising a dollar for every Canadian citizen, totaling over $24 million for cancer research.
The first Terry Fox Run, held on this day in 1981, united 300,000 people across Canada to walk, run or cycle in Terry’s memory, and raised $3.5 million for cancer research. Today, the Terry Fox Run is held virtually in his honor, and has raised over $800 million since its inception.
Thank you, Terry, for every step you took towards the cancer-free world you bravely envisioned.
Guest Artist Q&A with Lynn Scurfield
Today’s Doodle was illustrated by Toronto-based guest artist Lynn Scurfield. Below, she shares her thoughts behind the making of this Doodle:
Q: Why was this topic meaningful to you personally?
A: The Terry Fox run is a staple of my childhood school days. Every year in September, the whole school would take part of the day off and walk around the baseball diamond in honor of his marathon.
This topic is also meaningful to me because I was diagnosed with a very curable form of cancer called Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in late 2018 and went through both chemo and radiation for the first half of 2019. My personal experience with cancer in addition to the research I did on Terry for this Doodle has made my respect towards him grow even more. His marathon contributed a lot to both cancer and prosthetic research and continues to do so today. It’s truly amazing.
Q: Did you draw inspiration from anything in particular for this Doodle?
A: The original idea was to depict the start of Terry’s marathon in St. John’s, Newfoundland, so I was looking at photos from that time. It looked like it had been an overcast day, which I thought could be perfect for the tone of the image. From my research and what I know about his run, I feel it was characterized by long roads, sometimes unpredictable weather, and across beautiful landscapes. I also drew a little inspiration from the Group of Seven’s landscape paintings.
Q: What do you hope people take away from your Doodle?
A: Mostly I hope I did Terry and his legacy justice with my work! I hope we can all have a bit of Terry’s spirit in us to work for a better future.
I also want to say that if you know someone with cancer, listen to what they need and be there for them when things get hard. Cancer is scary and extremely difficult to deal with both mentally and physically, so those battling it need their support groups more than ever.
Early concepts and sketches of the Doodle