What do you do when a friend texts you really late at night asking if you want to do something really cool?
Everything you can (including begging your parents and husband) to make it happen, that’s what!
Something really incredible has been happening here in Canada over the last 12 months – self-proclaimed fundraising adventurer, Jamie McDonald
has been running from coast-to-coast raising money for children’s hospitals in Canada and in England where Jamie himself was in and out of hospitals as a child.
He began his amazing journey in March 2013 in St. Johns, Newfoundland and after making his way 5,000 miles (over 200 marathons!) across Canada, completed his run right here in Vancouver.
I first became aware of Jamie’s run several months ago when I happened to notice someone mention him on Twitter. Then, friends began talking about him as he passed through Alberta and even more so when he ran into troubles such as being robbed in Banff and getting snowed in while crossing the Rockies. His stories were entertaining and his purpose, inspiring. It was hard not to follow along.
|Did I mention he ran the whole thing dressed as superhero The Flash?
I wasn’t able to make it out to see him when he passed through my own community but that’s where the late night text came in. On his final day he’d be running from Burnaby to Vancouver and Solana asked me late Sunday night if I wanted to go out and try to find him with her. Luckily my family was able to help out with the kids!
We knew the hotel he was staying at thanks to Twitter so we started there and met a few other runners on the way. Around 11am Jamie, his dad and two friends came down and greeted us with the warmest hugs. They seemed genuinely happy to have some company for the run.
|A pic before leaving the hotel…
It would be about 10km from Burnaby to the BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver where a big event was planned for Jamie. He didn’t have a specific route in mind so we just headed off towards the city. It was such a beautiful day for a run in Vancouver, I was so glad his final day landed on such a beauty. Definitely Vancouver at it’s finest.
As we ran we got a chance to chat with everyone in the group. Jamie and his dad were such kind, friendly guys, it was like running with friends. A few km down the road we got word that BBC was going to be phoning in for a Skype interview so we searched around for somewhere to stop where we could use the Wifi.
One of the runners found a little cafe called U. N. Me Cafe and they were happy to have the group come in for a break. I thought it was really neat that Jamie invited everyone to come stand with him for the interview but I took the chance for a little pitstop and a quick bite to eat while Jamie chatted with the reporter.
After the interview was finished, we carried on and as we neared his destination, more and more people were coming out to cheer him on as he passed. I may not have mentioned but Jamie ran his entire journey dressed as the superhero, The Flash and so many supporters were dressed up to match. It was awesome.
|This group spent time with Jamie in Alberta and flew out
just to be here for his big finish!
Complete with their 10 yr old superhero in training!
We had only been with Jamie and his crew for less than two hours but it was pretty emotional seeing firsthand the connection he’s made with everyone along the way. The hugs and smiles were so genuine when this group surprised Jamie on the side of the road.
From here we only had a little ways to go before I knew I’d have to break off from the group and head home for the kids. I would have loved the chance to run all the way to Children’s Hospital and be part of the big event but I was thankful I had at least 10km to spend with Jamie and his crew. It’s not everyday that you get to meet a superhero, let alone run with one for a bit. Jamie’s incredible journey is proof that anything really is possible.
For completing his journey across Canada, Jamie is recognized as the first person to do it unsupported. For lodging, he relied on the warm and generosity of people he met along the way so that every penny raised could go directly to the cause.
Upon reaching the Pacific Ocean, Jamie sent out the following tweet that I think sums it up best:
This was the finish, but certainly not the end. Anyone can be a superhero. Love it.
If you’d like to help support Jamie’s cause, donations can be made to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation here
or to any of the other Canadian and British children’s hospitals supported on his run here
. You can continue to follow Jamie and catch up on his arrival in Vancouver via Twitter
or on his blog
|Big smiles for our superhero selfie
Congratulations Jamie, you’ve inspired and helped so many with this epic journey and proved to us all that superheroes really are out there among us.