Jesse’s Journey is a partnership of science and families dedicated to the discovery of treatments and a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy – because parents should not outlive their children. We are the only registered charity in Canada that is solely dedicated to funding research into Duchenne.
The Foundation for Gene and Cell Therapy is the legal name of our organization. “Jesse’s Journey” is a registered trademark and is our operating and “known” name.
Jesse Davidson is the inspiration behind Jesse’s Journey. He was born on April 10, 1980 and was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy at the age of 6 years old. He joined his dad, John, on a life-changing journey across Ontario in 1995 and supported John from the “home team” when John walked across Canada in 1998. Jesse was a graduate of Fanshawe College and pursued a career in the hospitality industry. He passed away from complications related to Duchenne on November 6, 2009 at the age of 29 years old.
To learn more about Jesse, click here
Jesse’s Journey was officially founded in December 1994 by John and Sherene Davidson. They were inspired by their son Jesse, who was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy at age 6, to find a way to increase research funding for Duchenne.
John pushed Jesse in his wheelchair across Ontario in 1995, starting in May and finishing in September. “Jesse’s Journey: A Marathon of Love” was a 3,300 km journey from the Manitoba/Ontario border to the Ontario/Quebec border and raised more than $1.5 million for research.
John walked across Canada from April 10, 1998 to January 20, 1999. He began by dipping his shoes in the Atlantic Ocean at QuidiVidi, Newfoundland. He dipped those same shoes in the Pacific Ocean at Victoria, British Columbia having walked 8,300km over 286 days, and raising more than $2 million.
Yes, Jesse’s Journey is registered as a charity with Canada Revenue Agency. Our charitable registration number is 89509-7756-RR0001.
Every year, Jesse’s Journey sends out requests for Letters of Intent (LOI) from researchers around the world. These LOIs are reviewed by members of the Research Funding Advisory Committee (RFAC) – a committee of the board of directors made up of scientists, clinicians, and family members of those affected by Duchenne. After reviewing the LOIs, the committee invites full proposals from those projects deemed to be most in-line with Jesse’s Journey’s funding priorities. Full proposals are reviewed by the RFAC and by external peer-reviewers – these reviewers have no formal affiliation with Jesse’s Journey and are experts in Duchenne research. Their work is done on a voluntary basis. The proposals recommended by the RFAC and the reviewers are presented to the board of directors for final approval. The process begins in September and concludes in February. If you are a researcher and would like to receive an invitation to submit an LOI, please contact us at [email protected].
The Jesse Davidson Endowment was created following John Davidson’s 1998 walk across Canada. John and Jesse’s goal was to create a fund that would generate revenue for Duchenne research in perpetuity. Interest generated from the fund is granted to approved research projects. The value of the endowment fund fluctuates with grants made, as well as market performance – the fund currently stands at well over $10 million.
The staff and board of directors of Jesse’s Journey are fully committed to stewarding donor dollars in a responsible and transparent manner. Audited financials are available here or by contacting our office at 519-645-8855.
John Davidson can be contacted by going to johndavidson.ca.
To book John as a speaker for a corporate or non-profit event, visit his website at johndavidson.ca.