Steve Fonyo, the amputee who raised millions for cancer research in a cross-country run 25 years ago, says he's ready to fight to keep his Order of Canada.

At age 19, Fonyo, who lost a leg to cancer, ran from coast to coast, raising $13 million for cancer research.

Through it all, his father remained his best friend.

"My dad was always there for me. Always. No matter what," Fonyo told CTV News.

When his dad died, Fonyo fell apart. He racked up drunk-driving convictions and assault charges. He became a drug addict.

He even says he wanted to die, and attempted suicide more than once.

"The first time, I stuck a gun in my mouth. I was just about to pull the trigger, blow my head off, and my mom caught me, in my bedroom," he said.

His downfall led him to lose his Order of Canada earlier this year -- something he only learned from watching television in prison.

"I was watching it on the news," he said.

Now Fonyo says he wants the honour back.

"What did I do, really? I did nothing but hurt myself, ruin my reputation. I didn't hurt anybody."

And if the government wants to take the physical award back, Fonyo says someone will have to come to his home to get it.

Even then, he'll always be proud of an incredible achievement.

"I ran across Canada," he said. "They can't take that away."

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Michele Brunoro