Terry Fox T-shirts raise awareness for run

Who: Terry Fox Foundation with No Fixed Address for creative and public relations.

What: New limited edition Terry Fox T-shirts created to help raise awareness for this year’s annual fundraising run.

When & Where: The campaign launched April 12, with paid creative running in social, out-of-home and in the Globe and Mail. There’s also influencer outreach and a PR push that saw Terry’s brother Fred Fox doing media interviews across the country.

Why: This is the first time the Foundation is using its annual run shirt to drive awareness and early registration for the Sept. 18 run, while also celebrating Fox’s legacy, his grit and perseverance.

“Terry is a personal hero for so many people and his bravery and determination resonate across generations,” said Denise Dias, Terry Fox Foundation’s vice-president marketing and communications, in a release. “This campaign aims to frame a legendary Canadian figure in a completely fresh way to inspire and engage people of all ages.”

How: The cornerstone of the campaign is the limited-edition T-shirts designed by famed Canadian author and artist Douglas Coupland. The T-shirts feature a dot-screened portrait of Fox with “I’m not a quitter” on the sleeve, inspired by his Fox’s 1980 quote: “Nobody is ever going to call me a quitter.”

The number 42 on the back of the shirts to mark the 42 years since Fox started his Marathon of Hope in Newfoundland. ““You can feel his energy radiating out from his photo like a beacon,” said Coupland in a release. “He was one in a billion.”

Well-known Canadians from sports and entertainment helped promote the shirts with simple black-and-white portraits of themselves wearing the shirts, which were used as social posts pushed out organically to their feeds and as paid ads.

That list included: Alessia Cara, Amanda Brugel, Catherine O’Hara, Catherine Reitman, Margaret Atwood, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan,  Michael Bublé, Penny Oleksiak, Perdita Felicien, Rachel  McAdams, Rick Mercer, Sidney Crosby, and Tessa Virtue.

“Every single time I’ve done a Terry Fox Run, I felt that I was a part of something bigger than me,” said Cara. “He impacted our country and so many people forever.”

The Foundation wanted to sell 5,373 shirts, one for each kilometre Fox ran in 1980, and reached that goal in one day along with a 116% increase in run registrations compared to last year.

Quote: “This year’s Terry Fox Run shirt takes a fresh approach that represents Terry’s spirit, perseverance, and grit to inspire Canadians to keep going. Terry’s powerful story is a demonstration of how one person can make a difference through vision, hard work, and a never-give-up attitude.” —Fred Fox, Terry’s older brother.


David Brown