Doug Alward



On the evening of the Olympic Closing Ceremonies [February 28, 2010], which I watched on TV until I couldn't stomach it any more, a friend from out of town called to say she was coming to my town tomorrow to watch her brother run in a Masters' Race and "did I want to meet her there?". I said "sure" and the next morning my husband and I went to the park where the race was being run. My friend has three brothers, and I didn't know which brother it would be, but assumed it would be her older brother whom I'd met before, because he lives in the same town as her.

But it turned out to be my friend's younger brother, the one from Vancouver, whom I'd never met before.

And, Godcidently, my friend's younger brother happens to be Doug Alward who was Terry Fox's best friend. Doug was the one who drove the van for five months, set the alarm, woke Terry up, made the meals, kept track of the miles (and a thousand other things) during the Marathon of Hope when Terry was running across Canada to raise a million dollars to find a cure for cancer. (In the end he raised 24-million; one dollar from every Canadian).

Wow, when we got to the field and Carol introduced us to Doug, it was a thrill of a lifetime. I couldn't stop asking him questions about Terry Fox, which he graciously responded to even though he was in a rush to get ready for his event. He was running a five-mile race in the 35-and-up category - he being 52 years-old now (it being 30 years since he was 22 years-old with Terry).

Doug Alward

I took the above photo of Doug Alward, in the park after running his Masters' Race, holding his Olympic torch, the one he'd carried during the Olympic Torch Relay that started in Olympia, Greece and finished in Vancouver with the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron (four Indian totem poles leaning toward the center) at Opening Ceremonies on February 12, 2010.

Olympic Fence

watch Doug Alward running with the Olympic Torch, YouTube

Doug carried the torch in Port Coquitlam, the suburb where he and Terry grew up, and while he was running he could see Terry's house from the highway. All the torchbearers had the option of keeping their torches (at a cost of around $350) after lighting the flame of the next torchbearer in the relay.

Doug Shoes Doug Start

Next is Doug putting on his running shoes surrounded by his sister Carol, my husband Bob and Carol's husband Greg; then next Doug's lined up at the starting gate as the gun goes off (he's about 10th from the right, almost in the middle).

Doug Run

Next is Doug in motion on his final lap - making it look easy - but in reality he says he was exhausted. He says running on grass is slower than running on pavement. I think he said his fastest lap that day was 7-minutes, 23-seconds - fast enough to come in 3rd or 4th, competing against runners who had come from all over the world.

Next is me 'carrying the torch for JFK' (thinking of his inaugural address where he said "The torch has been passed to a new generation").

Jackie Torch Group 1984 Jackie 1984

Next is Carol, me and Greg, with Carol holding a hardcover copy of NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR in her hand, showing the title on the spine. Godcidently Greg had borrowed the book from the library a week before and brought it along to have something to read. He had no idea that they'd be seeing me - connoisseur of all things Orwell. Next is me holding it open to the inside title page (too faint to read) and carrying the torch again - this time with Orwell in mind. And as if life really does come full circle, Carol is one of the friends (there are two) who stood by me, 19 years ago at College, during the experience that inspired the creation of my ORWELL TODAY website. See MY ORWELL CONVERSION

Before they all left to go back home we went for lunch and Doug told us stories about him and Terry Fox - all about how they met and became friends. It would take a major essay to tell everything he told, but much can be learned by reading the Terry Fox books and watching the movies.

Here's a photo from the book TERRY FOX: A STORY OF HOPE, by Maxine Trottier.

Terry Doug

     Terry loved all sorts of sports. Here he is with his peewee soccer team, in 1971 in Port Coquitlam. Terry is third from the right, and Doug Alward stands next to him, behind the player with the ball.... Terry played soccer, baseball and rugby. He competed in track and field and took up cross-country running, but what he wanted to do more than anything else was play basketball. Terry was terrible at the game, yet he wouldn't give up his dream. All through the summer before grade nine, he played one-on-one with Doug....

[end quoting from Terry Fox: A Story of Hope]

We told Doug how much we'd loved the movie - THE TERRY FOX STORY - with Robert Duvall and the two actors who looked identical to him and Terry. Doug said he preferred the second movie - TERRY - that came out in 2005. He said that the actor who played him didn't look as much like him as the actor in the first movie, but that he'd captured the essence of Doug better than the first one. He said they'd arranged for Doug to meet him, before they made the final decision, and Doug liked him right away.

As we were getting up to leave I asked Doug what was his strongest memory of Terry Fox. He thought about it for a minute and then said it was his sense of humour and his wit - and how he could make people laugh. He said he got that attribute from his father.

see Doug Alward driving the van, YouTube

see original van of Terry Fox, YouTube

watch Doug talk about Terry, YouTube

watch Doug Alward & others talking about Terry, YouTube

I've learned that there's a memorial to Terry Fox in front of BC Place Stadium in downtown Vancouver but that it's not one that his parents or the public like. I saw people on the news the other night being interviewed about it and they said it was an eyesore, has nothing to do with Terry Fox, and should be totally dismantled (which may very well happen now that a gigantic new casino is being built next to BC Place Stadium).

I've also learned that there IS a statue of Terry Fox in Vancouver at Simon Fraser University where he attended, but I still believe there should be one in Stanley Park, in the heart of the city, where Terry Fox belongs.

Below are photos from TERRY FOX: A STORY OF HOPE, by Maxine Trottier and from TERRY, by Douglas Coupland.

Terry Doug SJ TFox Water Jug

     On the morning of April 12, 1980, in St John's, Newfoundland, Terry woke up in a hotel room, had a large breakfast and then dressed warmly. Accompanied by his friend Doug Alward (who drove the van while Terry ran), he went to a rocky shore bordering the Atlantic. He'd brought with him two large clear bottles to fill with water. One was for himself to keep as a souvenir, the other he planned to empty into the Pacific Ocean at Vancouver's Stanley Park once he reached the end of his run. The weather was rough that day, and one of the jugs fell into the ocean and was lost. The other was filled halfway before angy waves made it too difficult to get more water into it. To this day, Terry's parents keep the jug, shown here, safely stored in their house. [pg 37, Terry]

TFox Miles

     Part of life on the road during the marathon was the endless crunching of mileage numbers - figuring out how far Terry had run during the day and how much farther he had to go. Terry made it two-thirds of the way across Canada before he had to end his run. This is a page from a notebook kept by Terry's friend, Doug Alward, on which he calculated mileage over and over and over. [pg 68, Terry]

[end quoting from Terry Fox: A Story of Hope and from Terry]

Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the day - April 12, 1980 - when Terry Fox and Doug Alward began the Marathon of Hope, so I'm writing this now to commemorate that occasion. In a future article (coming soon) I'll share my personal photos of visiting the Terry Fox statue in Thunder Bay, Ontario and Mount Terry Fox in the British Columbia Rockies. Stay tuned. ~ Jackie Jura


TF Mtn Statue AlwardInfluenceFox TerryRunning FOX FRIEND ALWARD CHANGED CANADA (drove van 143 days as Terry ran 5,373 kms). Email, Feb 8, 2015

Canadians remember Terry Fox's run 30 years later, CTV, Apr 12, 2010

Tribute marks Terry Fox's feat
by Richard Foot, CanWestNews, Apr 12, 2010
When she greeted Terry Fox at the St. John's airport 30 years ago, Bea Courtney was shocked by how small and vulnerable he seemed -- considering the enormity of the task that awaited him. Courtney was a member of the Signal Hill Jaycees, a local group of young female entrepreneurs, who had agreed to host this 22-year-old cancer survivor from Port Coquitlam, B.C., and his friend, Doug Alward, who had come to Newfoundland to begin Fox's quest to run across Canada -- on one leg -- to raise money for cancer research. "The first thing that hit me was how small they both were, two young fellows in their jeans," recalls Courtney. "They just looked tiny. The two of them were very slight. We were all a bit incredulous at what they wanted to pull off. "He was saying he wanted to raise a million dollars, and we were thinking, 'Oh my gosh, I hope he doesn't disappoint himself.' The goal of a million seemed enormous at the time."...

"Have you any idea how much you're worth on the hoof?" asked a St. John's radio reporter who interviewed Fox on that grey, overcast afternoon, as he stood beside the harbour. At first Fox was confused by the Newfoundland vernacular. "Uh, you mean how much I'm gonna raise?" he said.... "Yup.".... "I'm not sure. I think I'm gonna raise a million dollars.".... "So good luck then. Off you go my lad.".... And with that, Fox took off up the steep hill from the harbour, running toward city hall -- Mile One of the Trans-Canada Highway -- followed by Doug Alward in the pair's support vehicle, a Ford van, and a smattering of well-wishers, including Bea Courtney and her fellow Jaycees, who gave Fox his very first donation.

Miller Ayre, a St. John's businessman who was then one of the national directors of the Canadian Cancer Society, had been worried about the society supporting the run, and concerned that Fox was biting off more than he could chew. But all his fears evaporated after he met Fox in person. "Once you met him and understood his charisma, then all of it became clear," says Ayre. "He was very friendly and open and enthusiastic, and he had a very determined vision. How could you not support a guy like that?"

Newfoundland's steep hills, gale-force winds and freezing weather turned out to be a serious challenge for Fox. He also encountered apathy and disinterest in some of the towns he visited in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, while in others he and Alward were greeted like heroes, offered warm meals in peoples' homes, and inundated with donations that each day overflowed from the Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket that served as their collection plate....

The presence of Terry Fox, courageous and inspiring, felt by all
by Christie Blatchford, Globe & Mail, Feb 19, 2010
VANCOUVER - So in the end, it wasn't a member of Terry Fox's family, or a hologram of the young man who would now be 51, who lit the Olympic cauldron last night, though one of eight famous Canadians who carried in the Olympic flag was his mother Betty, and one of the last group of torch bearers was Rick Hansen, whose own world Man in Motion tour was inspired by Terry's Marathon of Hope. The final four of that group - the Great One, Wayne Gretzky; double Olympic champion Catriona LeMay Doan; basketball great and B.C. native Steve Nash and Canadian Senator Nancy Greene - together lit the indoor cauldron and officially opened the Games. Yet in this ridiculously beautiful part of Canada, it was Terry's fierce spirit that seemed to be everywhere, inside B.C. Place and outside in the mild, damp sea air, where Mr. Gretzky lit the outdoor cauldron on the waterfront. "You are living proof that men and women everywhere are capable of doing great good, and that in life as in sport, we should always give our best and never, ever give up," John Furlong, the CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee, told the world's athletes. Well, is there a better definition of Terry Fox than that?

Across the nation, schools and streets, parks and paths, and even a peak in the Rockies, bear Terry's name, and wherever across the planet Canadians gather in numbers greater than two or three there is a Terry Fox Run every September. But it is here, now, in Terry Fox country where he is best remembered. Terry was raised here, in nearby Port Coquitlam; diagnosed here at 18 with osteosarcoma; it is here where he lost his right leg above the knee; here where he wrote the combative little note to the Canadian Cancer Society that set the whole remarkable show in motion. "I believe in miracles," is what he told them. "I have to."

In the almost 30 years since he actually began running - a marathon a day, 42 klicks, in Adidas sneakers so thin that when the company issued commemorative replicas a few years ago to raise money for the Terry Fox Foundation, runners accustomed to the giant cushioning of the modern shoe were horrified - he has become a mythical figure. Posthumously, he is imbued with all the niceness, the goodness, that Canadians imagine are their defining characteristics. But he was also tough, hard-headed, massively moral in that there was a right way to do this adventure of his and he had to do it that way. He could bite your head off if you asked the wrong question. He could bark now and then at Bill Vigars, the sweet fellow from the cancer society sent along with a single vehicle, or at his friend Doug or his brother Darryl. It was exhausting, inspiring, heart-ripping just to watch him.

Many years after I saw him run a couple of consecutive marathons - his 136th and 137th or something like it - I ran one myself. I trained for it for six months, on two legs, and spent the day after on my back. When Terry finished a marathon, he had something to eat, maybe endured an event of glad-handing (in order to raise more money) in some godforsaken town, grabbed a few hours sleep, and then got up and did it again. His physical accomplishment alone remains among the greatest of sports achievements. But for his small entourage, he was alone for most of those 143 days; Canada remains a country that is largely empty. He ran along highways with trucks roaring by, on remote rural roads. Hip-hop, hip-hop. Sometimes, no one paid him any attention. He ran in the dark, in the rain, in howling wind, just this slight guy, a van following slowly behind him. Hip-hop, hip-hop.

I saw him in a Northern Ontario town called Terrace Bay in late August of 1980. Toronto Star photographer Boris Spremo and I spent a few days with him, as well as a boy and his dad, the boy a recent amputee who had lost his leg to the same kind of cancer Terry had. The boy was bald from chemo, self-conscious, shy. Terry was so tender with him. When they went for a swim, the boy found the courage to remove his ball cap, unstrap his leg, just as Terry did. It was Terry who told me that the boy's cancer was back in his lungs. A week later, so was Terry's. In Thunder Bay, he had a press conference to say how sorry he was. The young man who just a week before had been so strong and so indomitable now couldn't lift a hand to brush away a big fly strolling across his face. He died about nine months later, not quite 23. More than $400-million has been raised in his name for cancer research.

Yesterday morning, Terry's dad Rolly and Walter Gretzky, in a way the nation's two founding fathers, each carried the torch. Afterwards, Mr. Fox marvelled about the coincidences - he had run through Stanley Park, where Terry had wanted to go after he finished his epic journey; Terry's marathon had united Canadians, just as the torch run had - and said if Terry were alive, he would have loved the Olympics. I think his dad felt his son's presence vividly. Here, now, where the young of the world have come to play. Hip-hop. Hip-hop.

The Unveiling of Terry's Marathon of Hope Van
Tour Of Hope, May 22, 2008
It was a historical day in the lobby at Ford of Canada crowded with their staff, Terry Fox Foundation staff - Martha McClew, Britta, and Lou Fine (Terry's Canadian Cancer Society handler during Northern Ontario 1980), Dean Stonely - VP General Marketing, Craig Jarvis of Scotia McLeod, and Fox Family member Darrell Fox (executive director of the Terry Fox Foundation/Terry Fox Research Institutes). The media attended in great numbers for this wonderful/good news story. Of course Keith and crew who worked 20 hours days on end to pull it all together took in the unveiling and are now driving it east to St. John's Nfld. We heard of where Terry was May 22, 1980 - Springhill N.S., heard of how honored Ford was to be a part of the restoration, how Scotia McLeod will use a "coast to coast fund " to cover the expenses of the "Tour of Hope" from St. John's to Victoria (mid Sept). Darrell Fox emotionally spoke to the important significance the van holds from the sweat and tears Terry experienced on his quest of 143 marathons raising monies for Cancer Research. It was his home, his sanctuary and now Canadians can reach out, touch it and celebrate his legacy and help carry on his journey by supporting the Tour of Hope.

The following poem was read at today's event. This poem hung in the van above Terry Fox's bed and he read it each night before he slept.

It Couldn't Be Done
by Edgar Allan Guest

Somebody said it couldn't be done,
But he with a chuckle replied,
That "maybe it couldn't", but he would be one,
Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.
So he buckled right in, with the trace of a grin, on his face.
If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing and he tackled the thing,
That couldn't be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: Oh you'll never do that;
At least no one has ever done it.
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we knew he's begun it.
With a lift of his chin, and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing and he tackled the thing,
That couldn't be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle right in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That "cannot be done", and you'll do it.

Thank you Terry and Canada get ready for the Tour of Hope coming your way this summer.

Van has special cargo: Terry Fox's legacy
Camper is recreating young cancer victim's cross-Canada trip, Jun 27, 2008
It's been 28 years and five days since the Terry Fox van last stopped in Montreal. The charitable foundation that lives on in Fox's name has resurrected the vehicle and is parading it across Canada to perpetuate the legacy of the young cancer victim and to raise money for cancer research. The 1980 Ford Funcraft camper will roll into Montreal today on a 15-metre trailer for two events. Fox, who lost a leg to cancer, passed through Montreal on June 22, 1980, as part of his cross-Canada run to raise money for cancer research. He had begun his run in St. John's, N.L., and hoped to dip his prosthetic leg in the Pacific Ocean at the end of the journey. When the cancer returned, he was forced to quit his Marathon of Hope in Thunder Bay, Ont. He died June 28, 1981.

The van, driven by Fox's best friend Doug Alward and with Fox's brother Darrell riding shotgun, travelled behind Terry for almost five months in 1980, keeping him safe from passing vehicles. The van served as kitchen and sleeping quarters in areas where there were no motels in which to bunk down. The van donated by Ford for Fox's campaign was returned to the automaker when Fox had to stop running. It was eventually sold to an Ontario family who used it for years as a camper. At one point, it wound up as the property of a heavy metal band. By chance, Darrell Fox found it in Vancouver and the Terry Fox Foundation purchased it. Ford offered to refurbish the van for free and restore it to its 1980 glory, right down to the brown striped captain's chairs, padded brown vinyl ceiling and airbrushed exterior. The on-board lavatory still works.

Thanks to a fund set up by employees of the ScotiaMcLeod financial services company, Fox's van will complete his trip that was cut short by cancer. The van started its trip in St. John's on May 25, 2008. It has made stops in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. Commemorative baseball caps from all four provinces are lined up on the front dash board. From Montreal the van will be taken to Ottawa, Toronto and beyond, finishing in Victoria on Sept. 12, 2008 the date of the annual Terry Fox Run. Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope van will be on display today at the McGill University campus from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and at a car wash/ bake sale and barbecue at the Gabriel Ford-Lincoln dealership at 7100 St. Jacques St. W., in Notre Dame de Grâce, from 3:30 to 5:45 p.m. Visitors can view the van but cannot go inside. Donations to the Terry Fox Foundation will be gratefully accepted.

Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope van discovered in B.C.
by Jim Kelly, Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal, Apr 26, 2008
To anyone who saw it sitting on a Vancouver street, it was just an old, beat-up Ford Econoline van that was nearing the end of its life. No one could ever be convinced that this 28-year-old vehicle is a genuine Canadian icon. But it is. It even has a connection with Thunder Bay. The van, which badly needs an engine overhaul and other work, was the home of Canadian hero Terry Fox during his 1980 Marathon of Hope. More than anything it's an enduring symbol of his 143-day odyssey, which began on April 12 when Fox dipped his artificial leg in the Atlantic Ocean near St. John's, N.L., and ended just east of Thunder Bay when Fox was forced to stop his cross-country run as cancer spread through his body.

Lou Fine, who served as director of the 1,800-kilometre section of the run from the French River in Ontario to Whiteshell, Man., said he cleaned out the van in Thunder Bay and it was then driven to Vancouver by a Canadian Cancer Society volunteer and his wife. There, it was turned over to a Ford dealership. Ford had donated the van for the Marathon of Hope. What's known of the van's whereabouts in the years following is sketchy at best. What is known is that an Ontario family wound up using it for a number of years. Then, a London, Ont., family took possession of it in the mid 80s, with their son eventually taking it to British Columbia in 2000. From then until recently, the van was used as a tour vehicle for a B.C.-based rock band. In 2006, author Douglas Coupland, who had put together a book about Fox, learned that the vehicle was in Vancouver. After searching for it, he found the vehicle and contacted Darrell Fox, Terry‘s brother and the national director of the Terry Fox Foundation.

When they approached the van's owners, it turned out they knew of the vehicle's legacy and had left the interior exactly as it had been when it was used in the Marathon of Hope. In October 2007, Darrell Fox negotiated buying the van, and Ford offered to restore it to its original condition. "The family and foundation are pleased to rediscover a major artifact integral to our history and a piece of Canadiana," Darrell Fox told The Chronicle-Journal this week from Vancouver. "The van was Terry's home for five months. It was where he felt protected from the madness outside; where he slept, prepared and perspired," he said. While the van is significant for Darrell Fox, who spent three months with his brother on the road, it also means a lot for his parents, Betty and Rolly. "It's pretty emotional for them," he said.

The restored van will be unveiled late next month. Darrell Fox doesn't have immediate plans for it, but says he'd like to find a way to share it with Canada. "(The restoration is) the first step and then we'll take it from there," he said. "To have it come back to British Columbia and sit outside my house wouldn‘t be a very good use for it, I don't think," he said. Darrell Fox even agreed that it's a worthy suggestion that the van's permanent home could be in Thunder Bay, where the Marathon of Hope ended. Perhaps near the monument dedicated to Terry‘s run. And following the route that Terry took across the eastern part of Canada isn't out of the question either. "I'd like to see that happen but it won't happen quickly," Darrell said explaining that such an endeavour would require a great deal of time, effort and money.

The presence of Terry Fox, courageous and inspiring, felt by all, Globe & Mail, Feb 19, 2010

Terry Fox snub is an Olympic flameout, Toronto Sun, Feb 15, 2010

Olympic Fence Mayor Robertson, tear down those walls, City Caucus, Feb 14, 2010
...In the case of certain important public spaces, the excessive safety measures are smothering the spirit of the 2010 experience for the public. Vancouver's LiveCity sites, Richmond's O Zone and the Olympic cauldron housed at Canada Place are all wrapped in layers of security that seem incongruous and unnecessary. Are there no alternatives? With thousands of people trying to get a glimpse of the Olympic cauldron burning brightly on Vancouver's waterfront, news that Olympic organizers plan to keep the chain link fence in place during the Games is utterly disheartening. When we visited the site on Saturday, there were hundreds of disappointed people complaining that they couldn't get close to the flame, nor could they take a picture of it without the chain links in the image. Then there is the City of Vancouver's decision to allow both of their LiveCity sites to be put behind a chain link fence and force visitors to go through magnetic screeners. You begin to wonder if this is all a bit too much....). See OLYMPIAN SECURITY ORWELLIAN GAMES












Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~