Sunday, October 6, 2013

Jamie McDonald; Just a Regular Superhero

Keep moving even if your path isn't lit. 
Trust that you will find your way. 
Flash Gordon
There is a superhero in all of us.  It's what makes us get out of bed every morning and live the day as if there is no tomorrow. It why we cheer our friends as they drag their tired bones across the line, it's why tend to our sick children with fevers and wires, it's why we hold tight the ones we love as they fade from their former selves. We don't wear capes, we don't fly, and we certainly don't have super strength. We're simply Joe six-packs with mortgages and dreams.  We dream of a better world, we understand the strength of positive thinking and affirmative action. We embrace inclusion and diversity. We dream and we move forward with strength and fortitude even when we'd rather curl up in a ball... when I run 11 miles home from work... I'm not running... I'm saving the world .... because... the simple act of leaving the car in the driveway improves the human condition an infinitesimal amount... and that makes me glow superhero red.

Jamie McDonald is a superhero of extraordinary character and depth.  He's a man with a dream so big he needs all of Canada to contain it, to live it, to dream it.  Jamie dreams in 3D high definition Technicolor while ours, by comparison, are fuzzy monochrome.  

Jamie McDonald is running across Canada in support of sick children.  To date Jamie has raised about $30,000 for the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.  All money raised in Manitoba will support the Children's Hospital Foundation in Winnipeg.  As a child Jamie suffered from a rare spinal condition called syringomyelia  and a weakened immune system.  He was in and out of hospitals for nine painful years. Perhaps this is the source of his motivation? To dream of a world where sick kids get the best care our planet has to offer? Indeed, no small dream, but this is Jamie we're talking about.

Jamie arrived in Winnipeg today and I had the extraordinary pleasure of joining a group of local runners to escort him from the outskirts of Winnipeg to The Forks. We took our time running that eleven miles.  We chatted and laughed.  We posed for pictures with strangers.  We ran out in traffic -squeegy-kid style to collect donations from smiling if not bewildered drivers. We whooped it up at busy bus stops entertaining the commuters.  We took turns holding the large, faded Canadian flag.  It looked awesome furling (is that a word?) against the blue prairie sky.  We took turns pushing the cart that weighs 35 kg (the approximate weight of a sick kid that Jamie knew). It was a moment that I will cherish.  To have met this beautiful man with a dream that astounds the mundane and reminds us of all that is wonderful.

This man in a beat up faded cape.  This man in a torn and dirty Flash Gordon tee-shirt. This beautiful man with a dream so large it cannot be contained, cannot be denied, cannot be ignored. This man who visited The Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto and met a nine year old girl and her mother. A girl sick in hospital.  A girl who should be at home tucked safely in a warm bed with girly sleep overs. Jamie told the girl in no words to dream. To believe, to keep moving even if the path isn't lit.
This girl, who is all girls, all children, crafted a Flash Gordon cape for our intrepid Jamie, superhero that he is. Jamie wears this cape every day, all day.  It has become who he is... a dreamer who dreams superhero dreams. 

Make no mistake, Jamie is The Flash.

Please follow Jamie here and here.  Like his page.  Tell your friends about this awesome man. Go for a run. Toss a toonie in his bin or .... be a superhero and slip him a hundred.  

Come meet the man for yourself at City Park Runners at 6PM on Tuesday, October 8 and bring your cheque-book ... or make a donation here.

It's a good day to be alive, but it's even better now that I have met Jamie.

Mike :) 

Bob Nicol carrying the flag.
photo credit Brian McFarlane
Even super heros need to whiz once in a while.
photo credit Brian McFarlane

The escort.
photo credit Brian McFarlane

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