NS man teams up with brother Terry Fox to bring Canadian icons run to Ireland

Halifax-born Stew Paterson, who has lived in Ireland for the past few years, felt like something was missing every September.

The Terry Fox Run was part of his upbringing and his Canadian roots, but Fox’s legacy is not well known in Ireland – so he took it upon himself to change that.

On September 17, Paterson teamed up with the Terry Fox Foundation to host Ireland’s first Terry Fox Run in over a decade.

He reached out to Fox’s brother, Darrell Fox, who flew to Ireland for his first Terry Fox Run outside of Canada.

Darrell Fox at the Terry Fox Run at Herbert Park in Dublin on September 17. It was his first time attending a Terry Fox Run outside of Canada. (Mark DeRocher)

Paterson hopes more Canadians living around the world can spread Fox’s inspiring story.

When he meets a Canadian, he wants people to say, “Oh, I bet you like ice hockey and Tim Hortons and maple syrup and Terry Fox, right?”

“I think his story should be synonymous with being Canadian because it’s so special,” Paterson said.

Fox, of Port Coquitlam, BC, was 18 when he embarked on a cross-Canada run in April 1980 to raise money for cancer research. The activist, who had a leg amputated after being diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma, was forced to discontinue his Marathon. of Hope in September 1980 after cancer returned to his lungs. He died on June 28, 1981.

Terry Fox, center, with friend Doug Alward, left, and younger brother Darrell Fox, right, with the Van of Hope in 1980. (Submitted by Darrell Fox)

In memory of Fox, about 150 people walked, ran or cycled through Herbert Park in Dublin on Saturday.

Paterson said the group has raised €20,000, equivalent to $27,000 Cdn, which will go to the Irish Cancer Society.

Before moving to Dublin a few years ago, Paterson lived in New York for eight years and helped organize an annual Terry Fox Run in Central Park.

He said Terry Fox’s story resonates with many because most people know someone who has been affected by cancer, whether that be in Canada, Dublin or New York.

From left to right Darrell Fox, Paterson and Canadian Ambassador to Ireland Nancy Smyth who helped facilitate the event. (Julian Behal)

Paterson’s father was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago.

“I’ll never forget the moment he first told me,” Paterson said.

Darrell Fox, who followed Terry in a van during the Marathon of Hope, burst into tears in Dublin on Saturday as he read an excerpt from Terry’s diary and shared the importance of the case.

“What he said was that half of me was Darrell Fox, and the other half was Terry Fox’s brother,” Paterson said. “I wake up as myself, but then I have to be Darrell Fox, Terry Fox’s brother, and people are reaching out to me and wanting to hear my stories and draw strength from that.”

“He said that’s something that” [he’s] blessed with. It’s not a burden,” Paterson said.

Ciara Hughes, left, and Claire Bowman of the Irish Cancer Society at the Terry Fox Run on Saturday. (Mark DeRocher)

Darrell Fox said in an interview that his brother would have wanted his story to be shared around the world because his goal was to eradicate cancer.

“That’s what it’s all about, raising another dollar, another euro for cancer research,” he said, adding that he will cherish the memories and experiences of every story he heard in Dublin.

He said that in the 42 years since Terry died, every mile and dollar has been an investment in lives.

“Nothing makes me happier and prouder to see how many red T-shirts they wear, red T-shirts on the run day … that number is growing every year. That’s what it’s all about. Lives are saved and that’s what I cherish the most,” he said.