Terry Fox Story: Once in a Lifetime

Every reporter hopes to cover that one big story and for some, it never comes. For Leslie Scrivener, Toronto Star reporter and author of “Terry Fox His Story“, she didn’t have to wait long. Looking back 30 years ago, Scrivener was interviewed on what it was like to report on this historical Canadian story.

“I had only been working for the Star for about a year and half when Family Editor, Bonnie Cornell asked me to locate Terry and ‘find out if he was for real’. Cornell’s mother had passed away around that time from cancer of the liver.

“The Star research center tracked him down in Come by Chance, Newfoundland. He was happy to be contacted as he wasn’t getting a lot of attention at that time,” Scrivener commented.

“Initially, I did weekly updates with Terry. He was very accommodating and talked about what it was like to run. I couldn’t help but wonder what his Mom thought about this journey,” Scrivener pondered.

Scrivener finally met Terry as he crossed the Quebec//Ontario¬†border in Hawkesbury, Ont. “I was very shy”, Scrivener recalls. “There was just something very wonderful, exceptional about him. He was very selfless and good looking.”

For the next 36 hours, Scrivener rode in the van and became part of the Marathon of Hope. “Imagine two 20 year old lads, with sweaty socks and t-shirts and food without refrigeration; the smell was terrible,” Scrivener commented. During those hours, she witnessed their routine, Terry’s intensity and the silence. This was a very serious endeavor and it was bloody hard. To Terry, this was also an athletic feat.”

Those precious moments will always live with Scrivener. “To be in that situation is damn luck. You’re a part of history, but at the time, not aware of it. It was so unique; there is nothing that can compare. As a reporter, it was challenging not to be a fan and supporter,” Scrivener shares.

Looking back over 30 years, Scrivener is surprised that so many countries have embraced Terry’s story and is pleased to see the money that’s been raised as well as the advances in medical research.

“Terry was a unifier, he was the thread that joined the country together.”

“My kids are pleased that their Mother has a connection to Terry, they just wish they could have gotten to know him.”


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