Wow — I guess I keep forgetting that 1981 was some time ago (obviously, I have no memories as I would have been one and a half, but still). I have always grown up thinking of Terry Fox as an icon and almost as a myth, and sometimes the tangible physicality of a person’s life and death gets lost in there. He was my Dad’s age.

The Canadian Press

July 28, 2008 at 1:09 PM EDT

VANCOUVER — Terry Fox, the inspirational runner who captivated a country with his Marathon of Hope across Canada, would have celebrated his 50th birthday on Monday.

Prince George is marking Fox’s 50th birthday by unveiling a new statue of the man who has become a Canadian icon.

The memorial has been under way since last year when vandals damaged the original statue, causing an estimated $20,000 damage.

Mr. Fox died in 1981, just one month shy of his 23rd birthday on July 28.

The bone cancer that had claimed most of his right leg had spread to his lungs, forcing him to give up his dream of running across the country to raise money for cancer research.

Since then, hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised by walkers, joggers and runners around the world taking part in annual Terry Fox Marathon of Hope runs.