About a year and a half ago I  was honoured to take a small part in a bench dedication ceremony in London, Ontario. The event was held along the Terry Fox Parkway in London; its purpose was to honour Ron Calhoun, The Man Behind the Marathons and the driving force behind the Canadian Cancer Society-sponsored Marathon of Hope. This was about a week before the formal book launch for The Man Behind the Marathons: How Ron Calhoun Helped Terry Fox and Other Heroes Make Millions for Charity.

Pictured here 39 years after that Marathon of Hope is Ron Calhoun, holding a photo of himself and his wife, Fran, who had passed away a couple of years before. The bench is to honour both of them.

Don Clayton is typical of the countless volunteers who give of themselves to make this world a cancer-free place. I met Don at Ron’s 85th birthday party a year before the launch of my book and he told me about this project. He did not want Ron to know about the surprise coming. Well, on this day, Don’s plans became a wonderful reality.

Here Don and I flank Ron Calhoun.

This dedication plaque is set into the cement below the bench and pays tribute to this amazing couple.

Don asked me to say a few words about this man I had known for about 45 years. Here, I was listing all the reasons Ron Calhoun deserved this and the many other awards and acknowledgements he had received.

Last Friday, 2 days before this year’s Terry Fox Run, I was interviewed on CBC  Radio’s Afternoon Drive with Chris dela Torre. This was a real pleasure for me because Chris does a fine job of interviewing people and because I got to shine a light on Ron Calhoun. Here is the CBC interview, about 6 minutes long.

So the next time you are in London, head down to the Terry Fox Parkway at Greenway Park. Look for the Terry Fox name but also for Ron Calhoun’s bench nearby. You’ll be glad you did. And when you pick up your copy of The Man Behind the Marathons, look at all the pictures of Ron and Terry as well as those of Ron with the other people’s runs he orchestrated. Phenomenal!

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