SEP 18, 2019

CN and Terry Fox’s Family: A Proud Connection Going Back 65 Years

As railroaders, we take care of our own, and we support the people living and working in the communities we serve. To support the 39th annual Terry Fox Community Run for Cancer Research, we wanted to share the fascinating history between CN Railroad and Terry’s family – a legacy that continues today with CN sponsoring races in five Canadian cities – Moncton, NB, Montreal, QC, Oakville, ON, Winnipeg, MB and Prince George, BC.

In 1954, Terry’s father, Rolly, hired on at the CN yard in Winnipeg, where Terry was born in 1958. During Rolly’s 36-year career, he also worked as a switchman in Surrey, BC before moving to Port Coquitlam. Terry’s grandfather TK and uncle Brian Hogan also worked for CN in Winnipeg and Montreal.

A natural athlete, Terry was involved in many sports. After being diagnosed at age 18 with bone cancer, Terry’s right leg was amputated above the knee. After Terry recovered from surgery, wheelchair athlete and philanthropist Rick Hansen invited him to join a wheelchair basketball team – Terry’s new chair was a gift from Rolly’s CN colleagues, who went above and beyond to support the Fox family in many ways.


Suzanne Dalzell, Manager, Strategic Partnerships, Public and Government Affairs
Fiona Murray, Vice-President, Public and Government Affairs
Daryll Fox, Terry Fox brother
Savanna Carpenter, Suzanne Dalzell's daughter


Participants of all ages joined the 39th Annual Terry Fox Run

For example, during Terry’s illness, Rolly missed a lot of work to care for his son. His CN friends took turns volunteering to work his shifts so the family would not miss a single paycheque. Terry’s older brother Fred remembers his dad keeping a special notebook, in which he wrote the names and dates of every shift his colleagues took for him while he stayed at Terry’s side in the hospital.

As Terry got stronger, he began running marathons, and decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. Terry’s Marathon of Hope in 1980 was an inspiration to Canadians and people around the world. He ran a marathon every day for 143 consecutive days until he was forced to stop when his cancer spread to his lungs. Terry died in June 1981, but his legacy of hope continues to inspire us all.

CN was a proud sponsor of the 39th Annual Terry Fox Run which took place Sunday, September 15, one of more than 900 runs across Canada. CN employees, pensioners and their families joined the CN Team.

We thank all the participants for their presence and generous donations. We look forward to continuing this partnership with the Annual Terry Fox Run.