'I will make you live forever': Terry Fox publicist recalls first Marathon of Hope, 40 years later
LONDON, ONT. -- Friday will mark the 40th anniversary of when Terry Fox ran through London, Ont. during his ‘Marathon of Hope.'
For the past four decades, Londoner Keith Tapp, know as an “every-timer,” has participated in the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope. Never missing a run, he has the hardware to prove his dedication to the cause.
“Every year if you participate they give you another sticker, mine of course go back to year one,” said Tapp as he held a frame filled with stickers from his previous runs.
Tapp says he met Fox at the Argyle Mall the year before he began his ‘Marathon of Hope’ run across Canada.
“I got inspired by what he was doing, and hoped to do. I thought, I am going to get involved, it was just awe-inspiring to say, 'We’re going to help this kid live his dream.'”
But this year, Tapp’s run will be different. He won’t be joined by the hundreds who turn out in London to run together.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Terry Fox Foundation is celebrating this year’s big milestone online with a virtual run.
Dr. Peter Ferguson, who helps organize the local run says, “if anybody wants to participate in the Terry Fox run, they can do it anytime they’d like, by holding a virtual run or small gathering with friends, we’re hoping to get people to participate that way."
If you are participating, Ferguson encourages you to take photos, and tag Terry Fox Run London on Facebook.
London has many connections to the Terry Fox run, including, the man who helped coin the term 'Marathon of Hope.' The late Ron Calhoun, a Londoner, was the run's national coordinator back in 1980.
Ron Calhoun, third from left, meets Terry Fox, second from left, for the first time in 1980 in this image provided by Lori Lee Calhoun, Ron's daughter.
Calhoun, and Bill Vigars, both played an important role in Terry’s journey.
“I saw him running toward the van, the giant transport trucks passing by, catching him in the headlights, and I was struck with awe,” said Vigars, who was Terry Fox’s public relations organizer and close friend.
Vigars recalled the last time he saw Fox, in his hospital room.
“I hugged him, and turned around and walked away, came back and hugged him again. And I said, 'I love you, and I will make you live forever.'"
Forty years later, and with over $800 million raised for cancer, it seems Terry Fox’s legacy will live on forever.
You can register for this year's virtual run at terryfox.org.