Born in Boissevain, Manitoba on November 15, 1937, Betty’s early years were spent on prairie soil. Betty grew up in Melita, Manitoba, in an active and athletic family playing organized baseball and hockey (goalie), a trait that would be passed on to her own children. After graduating from high school, Betty moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba where she met (corner of Portage and Main) and married Rolland Murray Fox in October of 1956. A decade and four kids later, Betty and Rolly moved west to Surrey, British Columbia leaving all family behind. They settled in Port Coquitlam which would be the Fox home for 22 years (1968-1990). In 1990 Betty and Rolly started a very slow migration east with stops in Lake Errock, B.C, and Abbotsford, B.C. before finally settling down in Chilliwack, B.C in 2003.
Betty’s second eldest son Terry was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma and his right leg was amputated above the knee. On April 12, 1980, Terry began the Marathon of Hope, a run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He would cover 3,339 miles over 143 days before cancer returned, forcing Terry to stop running on September 1, 1980. Terry died on June 28, 1981. Betty lost her son early and publicly. With no time to grieve, she accepted a role in the development of the Terry Fox Run which would later evolve into The Terry Fox Foundation. Her intuition and nurturing way were critical to safeguarding Terry’s integrity, values and principles. Betty was involved in all aspects of The Terry Fox Foundation, particularly commercialization issues that related to the use of Terry’s name and image for fund raising purposes. Betty loved her family and they tried to equally return the love she had for them. She could laugh with the best of them and a tear was always just around the corner. Her family losses were always fresh and sincere. That Betty was a family source for hard work and determinations is a given. To the very end, Betty’s drive to further Terry’s work never waned as his dream had become her own.
It is estimated that Betty spoke to more than 400, 000 school children alone during her 25 years of touring the country, leaving each and every child with the inspirational story of the Marathon of Hope. These final words of every speech became her hallmark: “Never, ever give up on your dreams”