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Cross-Canada charity runner visits Terry Fox secondary in Port Coquitlam

Adventurer and charity runner Jamie McDonald stopped by Terry Fox secondary school to make a presentation Friday. Terry Fox sibling Fred Fox, right, was on hand to greet him. - DIANE STRANDBERG/THE RI-CITY NEWS
Adventurer and charity runner Jamie McDonald stopped by Terry Fox secondary school to make a presentation Friday. Terry Fox sibling Fred Fox, right, was on hand to greet him.
— image credit: DIANE STRANDBERG/THE RI-CITY NEWS

Terry Fox inspired charity runner Jamie McDonald.

And McDonald shared that inspiration and Terry's can-do spirit Friday morning with students at the Port Coquitlam hero's namesake school.

Dressed in a Flash superhero costume, the affable Brit used humour and stories of hardship and endurance to encourage Terry Fox secondary school students to do what they love and not give up, but give back.

"If we do that, we're going to change the world," McDonald told hundreds of attentive students.

With videos of his various exploits punctuating his hour-long presentation, McDonald described how he raised thousands of dollars for children's hospitals, including BC Children's Hospital, during his 5,000 mile cross-Canada run, which ended Feb. 4.

One of his videos, called Jamie McDonald Run — Who's the Daddy, about reaching the final summit on the Rocky Mountains, has received nearly 11,000 hits since it was posted Feb. 1. Showing the unstoppable McDonald crowing about his accomplishment, the video ends with him being splashed by slush from a passing vehicle.

"Sometimes, the world just slaps you in the face," McDonald joked.

His presentation included gripping moments from a previous adventure, a 14,000 km bicycle tour from Bangkok to his hometown of Gloucester, U.K., where he was arrested, slept rough and was even caught in a gun battle on the Afghanistan border.

McDonald, who spent much of his childhood in and out of hospitals because of a rare spinal condition, said one of his motivations is giving back to the caregivers who supported him when he was a kid and seeing the smiles on children's faces when he wears his superhero costume.

MAKE CARE BETTER

McDonald said he wants to help "make the care better and stop the hurt from happening."

PoCo's Terry Fox was his biggest inspiration, especially during more difficult days during his cross-Canada run when he had to persevere despite agonizing tendonitis. He was an "amazing human being," McDonald said of Fox, who died of cancer in 1981 before he could complete his cross-Canada run, but who still inspires millions to raise funds for cancer research every year.

Much of McDonald's cross-Canada tour was on major highways, where he slept in a small tent on the side of the road. In one hilarious video, McDonald flips out after running in the wrong direction for five miles.

"Everyone does that," McDonald said, as he called on the students to not give up even in the face of mistakes and challenges.

Fox sibling Fred Fox was on hand for the presentation and told McDonald he had been following his progress with interest.

"You show all the characteristics Terry had," Fox told McDonald.

To follow along McDonald's exploits and donate to BC Children's Hospital via his website, visit www.jamiemcdonald.org. He is also posting regularly on Twitter @MrJamieMcDonald and Facebook at Facebook.com/jamiemcdonald.org.

dstrandberg@tricitynews.com

 

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