Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This Day in Canadian History

March 31, 1984 - Steve Fonyo re-starts Terry Fox's journey

In the legendary story of Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope, a name forgotten all too often is Steve Fonyo.

On March 31, 1984 Fonyo, who had also lost a leg to cancer, started re-tracing Terry Fox's path across Canada by dipping his prosthetic leg in the harbour at St John's, Newfoundland.

Fox had passed away just under three years previous. A year before his passing Fox had been forced to abandon his Marathon.

On May 29, 1985 Fonyo concluded his run in Victoria, BC. The beach on which he concluded his ride is now named after him -- as are numerous other landmarks across the country.

Fonyo succeeded in raising $13 for Cancer Research, and was named to the Order of Canada within a year of completing his run. Sadly, Fonyo's father, Steve Fonyo sr, would die of lung cancer later in that year.

Fonyo would repeat his incredible feat by running across Britain in 1986 and '87.

Unfortunately, in 1997, Fonyo's life would tumble from the inspiring heights he had achieved when he was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, a firearms offense, theft, and fraud. He would recieve a suspended sentence of 18 months.

Fonyo would eventually go on to earn a helicopter pilot's license.

Fonyo evidently didn't possess all the qualities Canadians continue to righly credit to Terry Fox. But one thing he evidently did share with Fox was the determination to make a difference.


  1. Patrick,

    Also on this day in history (though admittedly not as important):

    HBCA, Cumberland House, Post Journal 1788

    Mar. 31-“Malcolm Ross bad with a sore hand, Edwad Wishart lame with a sprain’d ankle, Charles still the same way …”

    HBCA, Carlton House, Post Journal 1796

    Mar. 31 “Left Mr. Sutherland and went about 22 miles & put up. Wind and weather as yesterday.”

  2. Huh.

    Is this a preemptive April Fool's joke, by any chance?

  3. Hi Everyone
    First of all I would like to start off by saying that Steve and I would like to thank everyone for their support for everything he did in helping raise money for this horrible killer we call "cancer"
    Second thing is does it really matter who finished what run? Steve never tried to take the spotlight away from Terry he was only inspired by him. And really don't you think that if Terry was alive today he would have been at the spot the Steve finished to shake his hand not spit on him like so many people have.
    Third thing is Steve received the"order of canada" for what he DID. and I know that he never asked anyone to follow his life after his run and to only print the bad stuff and never say anything about the good Steve has done.
    Fourth if any of you think your perfect please e-mail me because I'd love to hear your life story and I bet that I can pick out a few imperfections in your life too.
    Well i could go on and on but if any of you really knew Steve you'd know that his heart is huge and yes, he can be a bit of a a@#$%%#$! but you have to think about it. If you had camera's and media popping out of the wood work your entire 20's, 30's and now 40's. I don't think you'd be smiling all the time either.
    Hope this finds everyone well and again thanks to the people that have supported Steve
    Steve and Lisa Fonyo


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