Jamie McDonald is currently near Revelstoke in British Columbia, Canada. He has travelled there from St John’s, Labrador, Canada. That’s a distance of approximately 4,017 miles. But Jamie didn’t fly that distance, neither did he drive, take the bus or travel by train. He’s attempting to become the first Brit – and the first person in almost 15 years – to run solo, coast to coast across Canada in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Pied Piper Appeal.
Jamie spent a great deal of his childhood in hospital with a number of conditions including epilpepsy and syringomyelia, a very rare spinal condition that also affects the immune system. Now an adult, he’s hoping to raise money for the charities that helped him get through some tough times as a child. The Pied Piper Appeal was founded in 1992 to improve the lives of sick children in Gloucestershire. Its initial creation was to fund a new hospital for children in the county but has gone on to help sick children from across the country in many different ways. Great Ormond Street Hospital provides the best available care to ill children, as well as pioneering treatments and cures for childhood illnesses and sees 220,000 patients a year. Both charities helped Jamie and his family greatly when he was a child.
This isn’t the first big challenge Jamie has embarked on. In 2012, Jamie cycled from Bangkok, Thailand to his home in Gloucestershire, a total of 14,000 miles. It didn’t sound like the easiest of bike journeys: “Along the way I was shot at, arrested and slept rough.” Then upon returning home, he went on to beat the world record for static cycling, in his spare time. He cycled for 265 hours straight – that’s more than eleven days!
Jamie began his latest challenge, to run more than 5,000 miles across Canada from St John’s in Labrador to Vancouver in March last year. Before he left he said: ”I’ll face snow storms, -30°C temperatures, hundreds of miles without food and water and Grizzly Bears, all whilst carrying a 30kg backpack, the weight of an average 9 year old boy!“.
As he nears the end of his latest challenge, Jamie is hoping to raise £60,000 which will be split between his two chosen charities.
Show your support for Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Pied Piper Appeal by donating on Jamie’s Virgin Money Giving page, or you can visit his website and watch the amazing video blogs made along the journey of his incredible challenge. You can also follow his progress on Twitter and on Facebook.