Shawn MacDonald doesn’t remember too much about his grandmother Margaret, but he does know how much time she spent in bed as a result of suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
And last Friday, MacDonald completed a seven-month long journey to raise funds for the disease that prevented Margaret from doing what Shawn was able to do in that time.
Walking from his house within town in Prince Rupert, all the way to Butze Rapids, then walking the entire trail and hoofing it back for five days a week from April to September, MacDonald has walked the equivalent of the journey from Prince Rupert to Vancouver and back again along the province’s highways.
“Yup, 15.5 km a day, Monday to Friday,” said MacDonald last week.
“It’s on behalf of my grandmother. She had [MS] for a good long time. She spent 50 years of her life in bed. I was 4 when she passed away.”
He added in a release from the MS Society of Canada that, “up to the day she died, she expected there was going to be a cure, but we’re still fighting it today. With advances in technology, it’s getting better, but it’s still a problem”.
MacDonald tracks his steps using a pedometer on his phone and sometimes he brings his daughter Maddy or his dog, Mya, along with him.
After deciding to undertake the walk, MacDonald contacted the MS Society, which helped him set up a fundraising page for his efforts.
“They went with it … I sat down afterwards and was like ‘What am I thinking?’ but I’m committed,” he said.
“When you start, it’s sore, right, you’re legs are saying ‘What are you doing?’, and then you think about it – seven months, what am I thinking? But that’s me, I set lofty goals and then you get used to it after awhile. There’s times where you get bored, so I change the route, but I still maintain that 15.5 km, I never cheated on that. There’s been rain, wind, you name it, but you can’t beat days like today,” MacDonald said, basking in the rare October Rupert sun rays.
Multiple Sclerosis is a neurological disease found in an estimated 100,000 Canadians and is the most common neurological disorder for young adults. The disease is a chronic illness that disables the brain and spinal cord and those diagnosed with MS often feel the effects for their entire lives.
To donate to MacDonald’s fundraising campaign, which helps the MS Society of Canada fund research to find the cause and cure for the disease, visit the website, www.ichallengems.ca, click ‘Donate’ and search ‘Shawn MacDonald’.
The Rupertite has already raised close to $800 for the cause and hopes to reach $5,000.