She called him her guardian angel. And yet when her angel was taken away so soon, so young, his dream became hers. And so we mourn the death of Betty Fox, mother of Terry.
In this young, changing nation, we don't have many national heroes. Terry Fox was, and remains, one of our few genuine, unvarnished heroes. But the story didn't end with him. Even when Betty lost her son, she continued sharing him and his dream with Canada and the rest of the world. His heroism was matched, after his death, by her own perseverance and determination.
During his life, she was the archetypal mother, protective and supportive of her dreamer son. We were in awe of Terry, of his aspirations and his feats. We could identify with Betty. When Terry died, we grieved with her and for her.
But we could never really understand her experience or absorb her grief. For her loss - her task - was the most feared one, one that befalls few parents - the burial of a child.
And after burying Terry, she was forced to take on battles with the highest personal and public stakes: the family name, the sound allocation of hundreds of millions of dollars in cancer research, a nation's continued devotion to her son and his cause.
Betty Fox showed all the courage, conviction and strength of Terry. Without her, the Marathon of Hope would be a memory rather than something Canadians live every year through the Terry Fox Runs. Without Betty, the fight against cancer - "the Emperor of All Maladies," it has been called - would be less advanced. And now that we are without her, we all must remain committed to her and Terry's dream of defeating a terrible disease.