COURAGE CANADA BLOG

Another great one in London! - July 3
The day began in Woodstock, ON on July 3 with another hearty breakfast compliments of the Quality Inn and Suites and the local Lions Club.

I skated with P.J. For the day and Jason joined me about 20km outside of London, ON. As we rolled closer I began to get really excited to come back to the city where I attended university.

I had a nice greeting as soon as I arrived back in London, and had a great live interview with A-Channel news at 6.

In light of my return to London me and a group of my close friends headed to Wonder sushi afterwards for an all you can eat feast for dinner that really took me back to the glory days at UWO!

The night was filled with good times, starting with a little gathering at my friend Ollie's place and an incredible fundraiser at UP On Carling. I met a lot of great locals at the bar who were genuinely interested to hear about the Quest and Courage Canada. Meeting lots of awesome people along the way has been a real treat, and a certain special someone in particular really helped to make the night so fantastic! Peole like her keep me motivated and on top of my game. It was great to meet Vaughan Martin and congrats to him on recently being drafted to the San Diego Chargers!

After so mant great days thus far it wasn't a shocker that last night was no exception!

A BIG Courage Canada shout out and special thanks to Dekker Slade for helping arrange such a successful evening at UP On Carling! And we can't forget the legend,
Oliver Shanks for all of his hospitality despite some unfortunate circumstances! Ollie, you are a champion among men!

The team and I are looking forward to spending some time at the Pyramid Recreation Centre in St. Mary's, ON tonight. Bring you rollerblades or youe ice skates and please come out to support Courage Canada and my Quest to the West at the free skate from 6-9pm.

317 James Street S. St. Mary's, ON. N4X1B6

Hope to see you all there!

Until next time London...it's been a slice.

-Mark
Sat Jul 04 2009 @ 3:58pm by Mark DeMontis

Brantford to Woodstock - July 2
Today got off to a great start; enjoying breakfast with my mom, dad, and some friends really kicked things off well. The team and I left from the intersection of Brant Ave. and Colborne St. just after noon on route from Brantford, ON to Woodstock, ON. I had a great skate today with Jason, covering roughly 47km of distance. Jason and I enjoyed the smooth roads as we chatted about life, love, belted out a few tunes to keep ourselves entertained, and really stated to get excited for our upcoming arrival in London where we both attended The University of Western Ontario together. Many thanks to both the Bant County OPP and the Oxford Community Police for all of their help and support over the past two days. As we skated into Woodstock it was really nice to hear the honks, claps, and kind words of encouragement form the local community. Woodstock is a beautiful place that I have always wanted to visit, and as soon as we got into town the team and I felt the warmth of everyone we met. Speaking of warmth and support, the Lions club of Woodstock took us out for a fantastic dinner at Montana's Grill which was well needed after a long day on the road! Thanks so much once again Lion Sam! After a great meal we headed back to the Quality Inn and Suites for a press conference with some local members of the media as well as supporters from the Lions Club of Woodstock. I really enjoyed sharing my story and my experiences that I've had over the past six days with them. I just hit the gym for a bit before I take some downtime to rest and prepare for the trip to London, ON, tomorrow. Time to call it an early night and gear up for a big day ahead of me! London and UWO here I come! -Mark
Thu Jul 02 2009 @ 9:51pm by Mark DeMontis

A Canada Day to Remember! - July 1
Wow! With every new day there is a new adventure, and today was certainly no exception!

Last night at Walter Gretzky's house was one of the most memorable experiences I have had in my life, let alone on this trip! What a genuine guy, and a true gentleman he is! He was so welcoming and hospitable to the team and I, inviting us into his home, making sure we were well fed, and certainly well entertained. He shared great stories with us, imparted some worthwhile wisdom, and after a trip downstairs to the infamous trophy room left us with great memories in our minds and smiles on our faces.

After coming off such an incredible evening with Walter our great Brantford, ON experience continued.

A nice hearty breakfast with some good friends of mine from Weston got the day off to a great start. The team, my family, friends, and myself hung out around the Canada Day Festival from Cockshutt Park meeting some of the locals including Mayor Mike Hancock. And of course, we couldn't leave out our new best friend Walter from getting in on the mix.

Just before 9pm as the excitement of the crowd of 15,000 kicked into high gear another earth shattering event took off!

I was honored to be invited on the main stage to address the high-spirited crowd and share my story with the people of Brantford. The reception was incredibly overwhelming, and having Walter Gretzky come up on stage with me and the Courage Canada team to talk a bit about the cause was truly the icing on the cake. My great friend, North American beatbox champion Scott Jackson then joined us for a small performance that really lit up the crowd before headliner Theory of a Dead Man performed.

Thank you so much to the city of Brantford for all of their great energy and encouragement!

Hope you all can join me as I take off from the intersection of Brant St. and Colborne St. tomorrow at 12pm!!

Onward to Woodstock, Ontario!

Happy Canada Day once more,
-Mark
Thu Jul 02 2009 @ 12:38am by Mark DeMontis

Happy Canada Day
From the Courage Canada team!
Wed Jul 01 2009 @ 7:13pm by Courage Canada Admin

Big Day 4 - June 30
Today has been a very exciting one for me and the team! We had a great night at the Gulliver Trailer Park outside Ancaster,ON, and had a smooth journey from there to Brantford, ON this morning.

When we arrived in Brantford we beat the rain once again (thankfully) and were privilaged to get a great tour of the Ross Macdonald School for the Blind from. President Lion John. Also, a great big thank you to the Lions of Brantford for providing us with Tim Horton's for lunch and some groceries as well.

The day got even more unreal when I received a call from one of my favourite hockey idols, Doug Gilmour! He wished me well on my quest and told me to keep going which was truly a special moment for me.

But we're not done yet folks...after a truly warm welcome and a great meal with the Donkers family we are off to meet a truly great man and a hero in both the Brantford community and in Canada, Walter Gretzky!

Walter has invited the team and I to come to his home to hang out, a real treat for me and the boys!

Make sure to catch the Courage Canada team at the Brantford Canada Day Festival from Cockshutt park tomorrow!

I will be on the on the main stage from 8-8:30pm along with my new friend Walter Greatzky, and my old friend Canadian Beatbox champion Scott Jackson. Also, Theory of a Dead Man will be performing right afterwards!!

Can't wait to see you all there and on the road soon!

Happy Canada Day!
-Mark
Tue Jun 30 2009 @ 7:23pm by Mark DeMontis

Day 3: Burlington to Ancaster - June 29
Last night we arrived in Burlington, ON and were well received by Jamie and Brian at the Lions Club. The use of their parking lot to plug in our RV for the night made for a comfortable and safe sleep.

Cheers to Dennis at Emma's Back Porch for a great dinner and some lovely hospitality.

After a bit of a skate through some rain we have arrived in Ancaster, ON! It is currently pouring rain but our spirits are high as we are right on schedule.

I have started to settle in to a comfortable routine. And the team has been a great asset in terms of keeping me stretched out, properly equipped and on top of my game!

On to the hometown of Wayne Gretzky, Brantford, ON bright and early tomorrow morning for the lead-up to Canada Day.

Make sure to join us for the Canada Day festivities from Cockshut Park in Brantford! I will be on the main stage from 8-8:30pm prior to the headlining performance of a star with a big name, with some very special guests!! Stay posted to find out who they are...

I am excited to be on my way to the home of the Great One and to meet the wonderful community of Brantford that I have heard so much about!

Cheers,
-Mark
Mon Jun 29 2009 @ 4:38pm by Mark DeMontis

Day One Complete! - June 27
I'm thrilled with the success of the launch yesterday from Weston Lions Arena! The amount of community support was fantastic and much appreciated. We reached Port Credit, ON last night; thanks so much to the local Lions Club for providing us with a great meal. it's support like yours that's really going to make an immediate difference on this campaign.

We are just on a lunch break at the Vic Johnson Arena in Streetsville, ON. We were geaciously received by local community members. Thanks to Mayor Hazel McCallion, local Councellor George Carlson, local MPP Bob Delaney and MP Bonnie Crombie for all of their support as well.

The team and I are now making our way to Burlington, ON to meet with our friends at the local Lions Club.

My spirits are high and I'm feeling great! This is truly starting out as the campaign of a lifetime.

Message us through the "Courage Canada" and "Mark DeMontis' Quest to the West" Facebook group, markdemontis@couragecanada.ca on Twitter and come meet up with the team! All of your ongoing support is greatly appreciated and well needed!

Stay posted for more to come!

-Mark
Sun Jun 28 2009 @ 2:38pm by Mark DeMontis

June17th Pre-Launch Event
Join me on Wednesday June 17th, 2009 at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto from 11a-2pm. The event looks to raise money and awareness about Courage Canada and my Quest to the West. The pre-launch includes Live performances by:

2008 SCRIBBLE JAM CHAMPION - TORONTO BEATBOXER SCOTT JACKSON
AND HEADLINER JOHN TAYLES
(www.johntayles.com, myspace.com/johntayles)

There will also be food, special guests and more.
Hope to see you there!

Cheers,
Mark DeMontis
Tue Jun 02 2009 @ 8:37pm by Mark DeMontis

Ma Familia
When it comes to family I have to say I've been very blessed and fortunate enough to have one of the most caring and supportive families around. Ever since I was a kid I've been taught by my parents some of lifes most important lessons and even still to this day are learning more.

I've always had a very close relationship with my mom, dad and brther and it's because of this reason that I had an easier time coping with my diagnosis a few years back. I've learned when you open up to people you care about things can sometimes be a lot easier on you during tough times. Knowing the person you are opening up with cares and truly wants to help really means the world.

Ever since the birth of Family Day in Canada I've been spending the past few years reflecting on my own life with my family. I spent the day thinking about my life and all the memorable times our family has spent together from camping trips to birthday parties and more. Through these good times, my brother and I have inherited many values that my parents have passed down to us including things like respect and honesty.

The accomplishments that my brother and I have had happened with the strong support from our parents. They have been more than supportive towards my campaign taking place this summer and are very excited to see me make a difference for others.

This year happens to be a very special year for my parents as it's their 25th Anniversary together. They have spent these years building a wonderful family and great memories and will continue to do so in the future as they will share a a great retirement together in a few years.

One thing they taguth me as a child that I will take with me on this journey and in life is to always be proud of who I am and where I'm from.

Mom, Dad and Luca....no matter how far I go I will never forget where i started from.

In June when I lace my skates and take off on my quest I will not forget who has helped me get this far and my way of giving back to my parents is by continuing to hold onto these values they have given to me and teach others how these things can make the world of a difference in to people in their life.

My mom has this pillow in our house and there's an ananoymous quote on it that I think about at times..."A family is a gift you give yourself."

I'll tell you one thing...I got one great gift!

Cheers and Happy Family Day
Mon Feb 16 2009 @ 11:57pm by Mark DeMontis

Good Week
When it comes to awareness campaigns there is no question that media coverage is essential to getting the message out.

Over the past week I was fortunate enough to do an interview with Canadian Press. Within 48 hours an article hit the wire and was starting to circuit its way across Canada hitting several different publications as well as online websites, magazines, newspapers and even radio stations.

I was very pleased with the feature editorial and felt very content with its ability to find various outlets from coast to coast.

The past weekend we have been recieving numerous phone calls and emails regarding sponsorship and moral support. I enjoy reading emails from people who have been inspired by my story especially when I find out that they too have faced similar life altering obstacles.

After a solid few days of working with different media and planning future follow-up interviews I was very content with my training today and I am very confident that this week will be great in terms of planning and preparation both in the office and in the gym.

See you in two weeks....on Mon Feb 16th, 09

Cheers,
Mon Feb 02 2009 @ 11:09pm by Mark DeMontis

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