- BC Games
My summer with Terry Fox
Millions of Canadians now consider Terry Fox one of our greatest heroes, but to one little girl in the summer of 1980, Terry was just a regular guy – if already larger than life.
She remembers knowing he was “someone important” when they met. “But I truly didn’t understand the scope of it,” recalls Kerry Anne Holloway.
Back then, she saw Fox through a nine-year-old’s eyes. She and her brother Patrick, 8, spent that adventurous summer travelling through Central Canada with Terry Fox and their father, Bill Vigars, a Canadian Cancer Society publicist who acted as Fox’s public relations organizer on the Marathon of Hope.
Fox, she says, liked to pull pranks, joke around on the run, and have food fights, even though there were tense moments, too, which Holloway didn’t understand fully at the time.
“I think my brother and I helped him to relax. I think I saw the best of him, as kids see people.”
Years later, she understood the level of self-sacrifice it took for Fox to run a marathon every day, wearing a prosthetic leg, starting out before dawn in all kinds of weather – all because he had a dream to raise $1 for every Canadian for cancer research.
Holloway is the guest speaker at this year’s Cloverdale Terry Fox Run, getting underway Sunday, Sept. 15 at the Cloverdale Legion, 17567 57 Avenue. Registration starts at 9 a.m., followed by a warm-up and speakers at 10 a.m., just before participants set out on a 10 km, 5 km, or 1 km run, walk, stroll or roll.
At summer’s end, Holloway and her brother had to go back to school in Ontario, when Fox was near Thunder Bay, which turned out to be his last stop on the Marathon of Hope.
“We went into his trailer and said goodbye to him,” recalls Holloway, who lives in Burnaby. “I don’t know if he knew then that he was sick again. I wonder if at some level he knew.”
When she enrolled in Grade 5 at a new school that fall, nobody believed the story of how she’d spent her summer.
The siblings came out to B.C. once to visit Fox at his home and in the hospital, “but we didn’t realize he might die until it happened.”
Getting to know Terry Fox had a lasting impact on her life. “It’s important to me to be able to help others and contribute to their well-being,” says Holloway, now a registered clinical counsellor.
“Thinking about his determination has always helped me when I’m faced with challenges I think I can’t get through.”
The Cloverdale Terry Fox Run is a family-friendly event.
There is no fee to register, and all participants are welcome, including walkers, runners, strollers, families and pets (on leash, please).
There are clearly marked 1 km, 5 km, and 10 km routes. Visit www.terryfox.org to register, or register on run day.
There will be a silent auction with items donated by local merchants, along with face painting, balloon animals, local entertainment and food.
Proceeds go to the Terry Fox Foundation.