Extremely proud to be able to share this latest machine.  It was a project around a year in the making but the final result was so worth the wait.

Terry Fox, a young man from BC embarked on a journey in 1980 that would inspire and give hope to millions of people affected by cancer.  His legacy is strong, and his run is carried on by people all over the world every year through “The Terry Fox Run”  raising millions of dollars for research in the hopes of finding a cure for cancer.

Terry ran an average of 42km every day for 143 days.  Unfortunately he was forced to end his run on September 1st, 1980 when his cancer had spread to his lungs.  Terry’s initial goal and hope was to raise $1 for every Canadian. By February 1st his goal was realized and the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope fund had raised $24.17 million.  He was able to see this dream come true before he lost his battle with the disease in June of 1981.

This unique one of a kind custom hand painted typewriter has been created to celebrate the legacy of Terry Fox’s powerful words.  While most Canadians know what Terry accomplished through his run, many are unaware of his letters he sent to organizations to enlist their support before his Marathon of Hope began on April 12, 1980.  Fox used a typewriter to do this.  It was a machine whose era was ending, though only a relative few knew it at the time.

A gentleman named Derrick Hill who was a friend of Fox, involved with the Marathon of Hope and the subsequent annual Hometown Runs in Poco connected with Brendan through a passion for typewriters and saw the themed machines we had been creating.  Derrick eventually found the machine to paint.. A medium sized Smith Corona series 5 that was made in Canada and rebranded for the now extinct Eaton’s department store chain in 1958 which is Terry’s year of birth.

Brendan and I jumped at the chance to tell the story through images on the machine and while I was researching images, I knew I wanted to use historically accurate moments caught on camera by photographers like Gail Harvey and by Boris Spremo for the Toronto Star.

Trying to fit images on the curves and small areas of the typewriter was a bit of a challenge.  I wanted to capture a bit of everything.  An absolute must for me was to include the iconic Ford Econoline.  I also wanted to include a police cruiser, the jug that the water from the Atlantic Ocean was collected in, a map of the run route, the logo, a quote and a portrait of Terry!  I had no idea how I was going to capture all of that on such a small surface with curves and corners and moving parts!  I also wanted to capture a crowd and a reflective portrait of Terry looking off to the distance along a Canadian highway contemplating the long road ahead to the west coast.

After much planning and experimenting with different images and compositions, and a few changes where I spent hours on one image only to decide to paint over it with another that I felt would work better.  I finally incorporated almost all of my initial planned micro paintings, and was very pleased with the final result!

One of the most rewarding parts of the entire experience was the incredible opportunity to actually spend time with some people who were actually there.  As well as meeting Derrick, he introduced me to Bill Vigars who was absolutely integral to the success of the run with publicity, fundraising events and media coverage as well as celebrity involvement.  After the machine was completed, we were also very fortunate to spend time chatting with Darrell Fox, Terry’s brother who was actually on the run with him.  Darrell is also depicted on the machine in the painting of the Van with Terry, Darrell and Doug Alward who drove the Van and was Terry’s best friend.  Sitting with these guys and hearing stories of moments from the team who were actually there was very moving and extremely special.

The whole experience from Derricks initial approach to the machine fully custom hand painted and ready to type again has been nothing short of incredible.  I learnt so much more about Terry and his legacy than I ever knew before and to have had the opportunity to create something so absolutely special and unique to help tell Terry’s story is something that has given me so much pride.  It truly has been rewarding beyond words.

The Terry Fox custom hand painted tribute typewriter

Terry Fox Typewriter