When Jesse Davidson was 5, his teachers noticed him struggling to get up off the floor. Months of medical testing soon revealed Jesse had Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) — a rare, progressive and fatal muscular system disease that affects about 1 in 5,000 Canadian boys.  “It was brutal,” says Jesse’s dad, John, “but eventually you realize you can either do nothing or try to make a difference.”

John chose to make a difference, setting out in 1995 to raise awareness and funding for DMD research by pushing Jesse in his wheelchair across Ontario. They raised $1.5 million. In 1998, John set out again, walking across Canada raising $2 million for what became known as Jesse’s Journey. Jesse died at age 29 from complications due to DMD but his legacy lives on. The only Canadian charity dedicated solely to DMD research, Jesse’s Journey has granted over $9 million to researchers around the world who are making great strides in treating DMD — giving patients and families hope for a brighter future.

To celebrate the 20th  anniversary of John’s 1998 cross-country walk and the charity’s achievements, John is encouraging people to raise their own awareness of DMD, donate to Jesse’s Journey, or attend the charity’s gala in London, ON on April 10th.