Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Should Steve Fonyo’s Order of Canada be returned? What is the cancer victim’s family saying after her death?

The bereaved family of Steve Fonyo, who died on Friday, is calling for his Order of Canada membership to be reinstated.

“I don’t think they should have ever taken him away,” said Fonyo’s sister, Susan Main.

Fonyo survived childhood cancer and then inspired a nation when he ran across Canada on a prosthetic leg in the mid-1980s.

“He loved the crowd when he was running and would stop and talk to anyone. Very proud of him,” Maine said.

“I will remember him only as a hero.”

Fonyo raises millions for cancer research. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 1985. He was only 19 at that time.

But he later fell from grace even after serving time in prison, facing criminal punishment. His Order of Canada was canceled in 2010.

“He did such a great job… Why did he take it back? So he had some issues, none perfect,” Main told CTV News.

Fonyo had to face many personal battles during his life.

In 2015, he was beaten so badly during a home invasion, he spent a month in a coma. A traumatic head injury slowed his speech.

“It’s not right,” an emotional Fonyo told CTV News at the time. “He took my life.”

His sister says that he never fully recovered from the vicious attack.

“His speech never (completely) came back,” she said.

“He was always looking for words and sometimes it was difficult to understand what he was saying.”

Should Steve Fonyo's Order of Canada be returned? What is the cancer victim's family saying after her death?Steve Fonyo’s sister, Susan Main, speaks to CTV News.

According to the family, Fonyo Powell went to the river and got himself back on track.

And they say that they found happiness too.

“His personality was big and he made me laugh every day,” said Fonyo’s longtime girlfriend Lisa Marie Herbert.

Should Steve Fonyo's Order of Canada be returned? What is the cancer victim's family saying after her death?(Photo courtesy of Lisa Marie Herbert)

His sister said that he remained close to his mother, who is in a care home.

“He would call her every week and talk to her,” Maine said.

His last phone visit was a few days before his death.

Fonyo was at Burnaby for a medical appointment on Friday. Herbert says that when she returned to her hotel, she found that he had collapsed.

“I heard him breathing really weird and I turned on the lights and he was on the floor, jerking off,” she said.

It is not yet known why Fonyo died, but his girlfriend believes he may have had a seizure. He said he was not taking the anti-seizure medication that was prescribed after being beaten.

The family is waiting to hear more from the coroner.

Should Steve Fonyo's Order of Canada be returned? What is the cancer victim's family saying after her death?(Photo courtesy of Lisa Marie Herbert)

Meanwhile, tributes to Fonyo are pouring in online, with many agreeing with the family that his Canadian order should not have been rescinded.

A service to remember the fonyo will take place in Vernon.

A date has not yet been set.

Should Steve Fonyo's Order of Canada be returned? What is the cancer victim's family saying after her death?(Photo provided by Lisa Marie Herbert)

Nation World News Desk
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