How Jesse’s Journey Began
Prior to 1986, the Davidson family had never heard of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a progressive genetic muscular system disease that gradually weakens the body’s muscles.
After observing their son Jesse struggling to get up from a sitting position and having difficulty climbing the stairs to his bedroom, John and Sherene Davidson took him to see their family doctor.
Months of tests and referrals to muscle disorder specialists finally led to the diagnosis of DMD – Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Duchenne, it turned out, is an incurable and severe form of muscular dystrophy that occurs most commonly in children.
It was crushing news for the Davidson family. News that would change their lives forever. But this was not the end of the Davidsons’ story. This was just the beginning.
Following Jesse’s diagnosis of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a new life-changing course was charted for John and Sherene Davidson. They knew the only way to find an elusive cure for Duchenne would be through research, which would require enormous investment and commitment.
Jesse’s Journey was soon born with a mission to raise research money in order to find a cure for Jesse and others suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
The story of Jesse’s Journey began to unfold in the summer of 1995 when John Davidson-at the age of 49-set out on an incredible mission to push his 15-year-old son Jesse across Ontario in his wheelchair-a trek of 3339 kilometres.
On November 6, 2014, Jesse’s Journey was proud to officially dedicate Jesse’s Garden. Located in Jesse Davidson Park in London Ontario, Jesse’s Garden is a celebration of the life of Jesse Davidson who passed away in 2009, as well as many of the other children and young adults we have lost who bravely faced Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
How Far Would You Go for Someone You Love?
The journey became a rallying point for people in communities across Ontario and across Canada. This gruelling test of endurance for a determined father and son generated $1.5 million dollars for research.
Three years later there was another chapter in the amazing story. In 1998 John Davidson found himself on the road again-this time alone. On his son, Jesse’s 18th birthday John dipped his running shoes in the Atlantic Ocean at St. John’s Newfoundland. 286 days later he dipped those same running shoes in the Pacific at Beacon Hill Park in Victoria. The 8300-kilometre journey across Canada generated $2 million dollars in grassroots donations made by Canadians coast to coast. From their humble beginning, the Davidson’s managed to bring the Jesse Davidson Endowment on stream. The means were at hand to begin funding research each and every year.
Jesse’s Journey has funded more than $13.1 million in research projects around the world and is the ONLY Canadian charity that exists solely to fund Duchenne muscular dystrophy research.