Stephen Charles Fonyo, "Steve," runner (b at Montréal 29 June 1965). Despite losing most of his left leg to bone cancer at age 12, Fonyo ran across Canada in a "Journey for Lives" to raise money for cancer research.
Stephen Charles Fonyo, "Steve," runner (b at Montréal 29 June 1965). Despite losing most of his left leg to bone cancer at age 12, Fonyo ran across Canada in a "Journey for Lives" to raise money for cancer research. His remarkable 7924 km run started in St John's 31 March 1984, when he dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean, and ended 29 May 1985 with a similar dip into the Pacific Ocean in Victoria. Fonyo was inspired by fellow British Columbian Terry Fox, who had attracted world attention with his attempt at a similar run in 1980. Fonyo received less publicity and support at first, but he emerged from Fox's shadow by passing beyond the symbolic point outside Thunder Bay, Ontario, where Fox had aborted his run. Thousands lined his route and packed auditoriums to cheer him on and give increasingly larger donations to the fund, which eventually reached approximately $13 million. For his efforts Fonyo was awarded the Order of Canada, making him the youngest recipient of the award at that time. In 1986, after a period of recuperation, he embarked on another fund-raising run for cancer research, running from the northern to the southern tip of Great Britain. Fonyo completed this run in May 1987, and announced that he planned no further cancer-research marathons.
Fonyo later struggled to direct his life in a purposeful way. Though a successful mechanic, he suffered from depression and was often embroiled in legal trouble that led to jail time. Because of his criminal convictions Fonyo's membership in the Order of Canada was revoked by the Governor General in Dec 2009.