Real-life super hero arrives in Sault Ste. Marie (7 photos)Monday, August 19, 2013 by: Darren Taylor
Supporters welcomed real life superhero Jamie McDonald to Sault Ste. Marie Monday afternoon.
McDonald (pictured) was scheduled to deliver a motivational speech at the Sault YMCA on McNabb Street at 6 p.m. in regards to his journey across Canada, in which he is raising funds for services provided at Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital and England’s Great Ormond Street Hospital.
The adventurous and humorous resident of Gloucester, England, is running across Canada, from east coast to west coast, with a packed, 60-kilogram stroller by his side.
“It’s deadly going up hills, but it helps me going downhill,” McDonald told SooToday.com
McDonald is journeying in a Flash superhero outfit.
“The kids love super heroes and it’s raising a lot more awareness and funds.”
McDonald started his cross-Canada journey five months ago in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
“It was a proper Forrest Gump moment.”
“I’ve bicycled, but never ran like this before, so I put my hand in the water and just decided to have a go without any planning at all, but it’s working out,” he told us.
McDonald hopes to end his run in Vancouver December 18 (the same day his travel visa expires).
McDonald arrived at Sault Ste. Marie’s eastern city limits at 1 p.m. today to the cheers of supporters.
From there, McDonald made his way to a 2 p.m. meet and greet at the Sault Ste. Marie YMCA on McNabb Street, where even more supporters of all ages greeted him with a birthday cake.
McDonald turns 27 today.
“I came here because I heard Canada is the best country in the world, and I got into adventure fundraising because I feel like it makes a difference. It sits right with me. It feels right to be doing this.”
McDonald spent much of the first nine years of his life in hospital suffering from a rare spinal condition known as syringomyelia.
“I wasn’t able to move my legs and I was away from school for a year, feeling very, very sick.”
“When I was nine those symptoms disappeared, and I haven’t stopped moving ever since. I want to put my mobility to good use.”
Through his website at www.jamiemcdonald.org along with his connections on Facebook and Twitter, McDonald’s journey is attracting attention.
“There’s a people’s movement. The public is actually calling ahead and letting every city and town know before I arrive.”
McDonald says because of that support through social media, “the donations are starting to fly in and hopefully that will continue all the way to the end.”
McDonald has a fundraising goal of $60,000, and estimates he has raised about $15,000 so far.
McDonald’s Canadian journey is not his first taste of adventure.
In 2012, he raised $35,000 for two hospitals in England by bicycling for 14,000 miles, from Bangkok, Thailand to England.
“I went through some really wacky countries, got arrested in China quite a few times, got caught in a war zone on the Afghanistan border, went through Iran and Iraq where the hospitality was outstanding, and I went through Turkey dressed as Batman.”
Chinese officials didn’t like him cycling on the highway.
“They were always quite nice about it,” McDonald says with good cheer.
“They would take me in for a day, then I would sign a lot of papers and then let me out.”
“I think they found it amusing some crazy Englishman would cycle through their country on the highway.”
Upon completion of that tour, McDonald then began another fundraiser and set a world record pedalling for 265 hours (more than 11 days) on a static bicycle.
McDonald is documenting his Canadian journey by taking videos along the way.
“What I realize about the world is that everywhere I go is that everyday people are just super friendly and always want to help.”
McDonald will be staying in Sault Ste. Marie overnight at Algoma’s Water Tower Inn and heading back out on his trip at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
Upon completion of his Canadian tour, McDonald told us he wants to stay in Canada.
“I love it here!”
People may donate to Jamie McDonald’s fundraiser by visiting his website at www.jamiemcdonald.org, on Facebook and Twitter.