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Fundraising adventurer raises money for hospitals

Englishman running to support Canadian hospitals

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Running a marathon a day tends to take a toll on a guy.

British-born Jamie McDonald recently took a break from running across Canada  for a check-up at a St. James physiotherapy clinic. McDonald, a self-declared fundraising adventurer, has been running across the country for the past six and a half months, raising money for hospitals in each province he runs through.

According to a release issued Oct. 8, he’s run the equivalent of a marathon a day for about 200 days.

McDonald was diagnosed with syringomyelia, a condition in which a cyst forms on the spinal cord, when he was young. He had spent the first nine years of most of his life in hospital, and claims he missed a whole year of school.  After obtaining a Visa to Canada, McDonald decided he wanted to do something to give back to the hospitals helped him when he was ill. Originally wanting to come to Canada to work and have fun, McDonald used it to help him run across the country to raise money for their hospitals.

"I started in St. John’s, N.L. I put my hand in the Atlantic Ocean, and I hope to dive in naked in the Pacific," he laughed.

McDonald said he has about 60 marathons left to run and 70 days to do it.

"It’s a little bit Forrest Gump: I literally just run. My goal is to run a marathon or more a day because I need to before my Visa runs out," McDonald said.

But six weeks ago, McDonald experienced some pain in his right foot. Instead of treating it, McDonald continued running.

But McDonald made time on Oct. 8 to stop by Pure Lifestyle Physiotherapy-Fitness (1129 Empress St.) to get his foot examined.

Physiotherapists Jean-François Bérard and Steve Moerman had McDonald performed a series of both objective and subjective tests to check for asymmetries or nervous irritations. McDonald stretched in all directions, stood on one leg, and learned to tape up his foot.

Bérard said McDonald’s pain is likely due to two things: the fact that he’s running on the same camber of the highway repeatedly, causing asymmetry, and the fact that he is running a great distance in one day, rather than splitting up his runs into half-marathons.

"These changes will certainly present with signs of overuse on his foot," Bérard said. "What we’ll do from here is treat a couple of those mechanical issues in his foot, and then hopefully help him with understanding how to self-treat and self-mobilize, as well as taping strategies so he could apply those techniques in between cities where he can’t get any treatment."

Some self-treatment tools the physiotherapists taught McDonald to use included using his hands or a golf or tennis ball to massage his foot and his calves.

On the evening of Oct. 8, Winnipeggers were encouraged to come out for a family fun run at the Assiniboine Park Duck Pond in support of McDonald.

So far McDonald has raised about $33,000. Donations can be made at jamiemcdonald.org


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