Dean Close was very pleased to welcome a real life Superhero, Jamie McDonald, to speak to the whole School in the Bacon Theatre this week. The inspirational fundraiser, also known as ‘Adventureman’, motivated and moved the pupils with his epic tale and passionate message – “never give up on your dreams”.
Jamie spent the first nine years of his life in and out of hospital with a rare spinal condition known as syringomyelia. Combined with a very weak immune system and epilepsy, Jamie’s health was very poor, but against all odds, he has become something of an adventurer.
As his symptoms eased at the age of nine, Jamie fell in love with movement, having been told by doctors that he would never walk, and set about to become as active as he possibly could. In 2012, he bought a second hand bike and decided to cycle the 14,000 miles from Bangkok to his hometown in Gloucester. Upon his return, Jamie attempted the world static cycling record. He set up a bike in Gloucester Quays and pedalled for a world record breaking 268 hours – more than eleven days. Throughout both challenges, Jamie raised tens of thousands of pounds for acharity that benefits the children’s ward of Gloucester Royal Hospital – the hospital in which he was cared for as a child.
In February 2014, ‘Adventureman’ became the first person in history to run the 5,000 miles from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast without the aid of a support crew. The epic journey began in March 2013 and raised more than £250,000 for sick children in Canada and the UK. He battled -40°C temperatures, numerous potentially challenge-stopping injuries (including the permanent misshaping of his right foot), three days without food and much more to finish the challenge in Vancouver, running the equivalent of a marathon most days – whilst wearing a Superhero costume.
To demonstrate the positive benefits of movement, Jamie invited the Headmaster and Deputy Head to the stage for an on the spot race with pupils cheering for the winner. The smiles throughout the Bacon Theatre from both the spectators and the racers more than proved his point. At the end of the talk the pupils were eager to meet the inspiring fundraiser and Jamie was more than happy to shake hands and take selfies with them.
Jamie continues to raise money for a number of causes as co-founder of the Superhero Foundation. If you would like to find out more about Jamie’s inspiring story or details on how you can donate, please visit his website: http://www.jamiemcdonald.org/