Jamie McDonald is a 27 year old man from Gloucester, UK and he’s running through Canada to fund-raise $40,000 in donations for Hospitals for Sick Children in Canada and £30,000 for two British charities that support children with health issues. McDonald has been getting called the “British Forrest Gump” and he recently ran into a bit of trouble being jumped by a thief in Banff, Alberta.
McDonald is incredible by any standards, breaking the world static cycling record at 265 hours, that’s 11 days worth of riding on a stationary bike. He also has cycled from Bangkok to Gloucester, a journey of 14,000 miles before considering his Canadian odyssey.
McDonald has a special place in his heart for children’s charity and wanted to raise funds by being the first person to travel coast to coast without a support team, a 5,000 mile journey. He polled his fans and Facebook followers to choose an action hero and he would dress like that character for the new adventure, they choose The Flash, and he has a bright red costume. His journey started in St John’s Labrador, Newfoundland Canada, on March 9 2013 and he will finish in Vancouver, British Columbia.
What makes the British Forrest Gump choose this? As a child McDonald was frequently jumping in and out of the Gloucester Royal Hospital for 9 years, he had a weak immune system and was diagnosed with Syringomyelia, a progressive disease of the spinal cord where scar tissue forms resulting in symptoms of weakness, nerve damage that reduces sensory information and muscle atrophy. He found that getting exercise offered some relief from the symptoms, and wants to encourage children who are dealing with health issues to exercise, and hopes his journey provides inspiration to get out there and get moving.
During childhood his family was supported by Pied Piper Appeal and Great Ormond Street Children’s Charity and those are the two British organizations he seeks donations for as well as Sick Children’s Hospital in Canada. His goal to be the first person to run across Canada without having a support team by his side, most trekkers have at least one vehicle for assistance, one might remember Terry Fox or Rick Hansen.
McDonald has been travelling light during this journey, accompanied by a 30 kg backpack that contains his essentials like water, his wallet, the journey footage, an iPhone and his camera; in other words “millions of dollars” worth of fundraising value. This man has been named the “British Forest Gump” by his fans and supporters in the UK and he is very involved in his mission; and he has been the recipient of charity assistance in the past and wants to give back by his unique plan.
It’s really shocking to find out McDonald was assaulted on New Year’s Eve while visiting Banff, a high end ski resort town in Alberta. Rich Leigh, his spokesperson confirmed that Jamie had been hit on the head and that he was okay though shaken; the RCMP and Mr McDonald have not commented, his Twitter updates have confirmed the incident.
The greater tragedy is that his bag full of valuables went missing; that means his personal items and camera footage have vanished into thin air, and without the digital data his fundraising efforts will be lessened. The public has put appeals out for the bag thief that jumped the British Forrest Gump and to return the bag’s contents as it’s essential to McDonald’s mission.
By Dawne Skeye