Terry wearing the All Star jersey given by Darryl Sittler
Darryl Sittler, a Hero's Hero
Terry Fox is a hero to people all over
the world for his Marathon of Hope efforts, but you may not be aware of who
Terry's heroes were. Like many Canadian boys who grew up hockey fans in the 70's, Terry
looked up to Darryl Sittler and Bobby Orr, both Canadian Hockey icons and Hockey
Hall of Famers. Sittler and Orr met Terry in Toronto during the Marathon of Hope, as well
as playing a role in the Terry Fox Run telethon after Terry was forced to stop
the Run when cancer had spread to his lungs.
Looking back 30 years ago, Sittler
often thinks of Terry and discussed the memories of the Marathon of the Hope and
the relationship he had with Terry.
"I remember the picture in the
newspaper of Terry dipping his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean at the
beginning of his Run and being inspired by what he was about to do. It really had an impact on me,"
"I continued to follow the news
about him on the tour, but he wasn't getting much exposure. Bill Vigars, head of
the Ontario Cancer Society, contacted me about meeting with Terry when he approached
Toronto. I wanted to meet Terry as much as he wanted to meet me. We met at the
Four Season's Hotel and I found him very humble and shy."
"He had already done 13 miles that
day. I brought my shorts and t-shirt, so I had the opportunity to run with
him down University Avenue. There were thousands of people in attendance and it was very
emotional. Before I left home, I had picked up my All Star Jersey to give to
When the run stopped, Sittler
stayed in touch with Terry and continued to be involved, playing a role in the
CTV Telethon. When the Leafs had a game in Vancouver, he invited Terry to the dressing room after the
game. "Terry was very excited to meet everyone, but you could tell it took a lot
of effort as the cancer was taking its toll on his body."
In 2002, Sittler's wife, Wendy,
lost her battle with colon cancer. He has since remarried.
Sittler has continued his support
of the Terry Fox Foundation and was part of the family head shaving event in
Vancouver as part of the 27th Anniversary. He plans to participate as a part of the 30th
Anniversary by running with Terry Fox supporter, Isadore Sharp.
"My opinion is that Terry Fox is
the Greatest Canadian ever," Sittler comments. "What he did is