01/26/2016 17:44 EST | Updated 01/26/2017 00:12 EST

Terry Fox's dad approaches cancer diagnosis with 'never give up' attitude of son

VANCOUVER — Terry Fox devoted his life to raising money for cancer research and now his father has been diagnosed with the disease.

The family announced on the Terry Fox Foundation website that Rolland Fox, known as Rolly, has recently been diagnosed with lung cancer.

The statement says he remains in good spirits and hasn't lost his sense of humour, which the family jokingly calls "dated and overused."

It says though troubled at first by the news, Rolly Fox is committed to approaching the challenge by adhering to the traits he likely passed on to his son — optimism and a never-give-up attitude.

He will be 81 in March and started smoking at age 19, consistent with the times, quitting on a dare from his brother in 1986.

The Terry Fox Research Institute, with funding from the Terry Fox Foundation, recently completed a pan-Canadian study to detect lung cancer early.

The Canadian Press