Nolan wants April 12 to be Terry Fox Day for all Canadians, and he’s campaigning to get Canada’s federal government to make it so.
Yesterday he was in St. John’s, Nfld, running a full marathon along the same route Fox took to launch his historic Marathon of Hope for cancer research on April 12, 1980.
It’s a tradition Nolan and a growing number of Canadians have been taking part in every April 12 for the last three years.
“We all feel as Canadians that Terry deserves this day. He’s part of our history. We’re very passionate and we want to see April 12 recognized as Terry Fox Day,” he told Sonali Karnick, host of the CBC Radio’s All in a Weekend.
Fox ran the equivalent of a full marathon every day for 143 days before his cross-Canada trek was cut short by the return of his cancer near Thunder Bay, Ont.
Fox died nine months later on June 28, 1981, at 22.
Nolan’s own recent diagnosis with cancer has helped make the personal connection he feels with Fox that much deeper.
“He’s been the most inspirational person in my life,” Nolan said.
The school caretaker doesn’t see his proposed Terry Fox Day competing with fundraising Terry Fox Runs that take place across Canada and internationally each September. He’s been a keen organizer of those fundraising efforts for years.
He just doesn’t want a day that he considers an important moment in Canadian history to pass unrecognized.
“Canada stood still when Terry passed away. Terry’s part of our history and I feel he’s earned that day, he deserves it. And with April 12 on the calendar, he’ll be forever in our hearts,” Nolan said.
Nolan’s employer, the English Montreal School Board, recognizes April 12 as Terry Fox Day thanks to his efforts.
Now he just has to convince the Canadian government to do the same.