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Defeat Duchenne Canada marks the 20th anniversary of John Davidson’s walk across Canada

February 20, 2018


London, ON – 2018 marks 20 years since Londoner John Davidson walked across Canada to raise funds and awareness for Duchenne muscular dystrophy research in honour of his son, Jesse, who was diagnosed with the disease at age 6.

On April 10, 1998 John dipped his shoes into the Atlantic Ocean off the east coast of Newfoundland and set out on a 286-day journey that would see him walk 8,300km to Victoria, BC. “Defeat Duchenne Canada: A Father’s Tribute” raised more than $2 million and launched the Jesse Davidson Endowment – a fund that today stands at well over $10 million, and contributes to Defeat Duchenne Canada granting more than $1 million per year to Duchenne research.

“It seems like almost every day we hear of a new study, trial, or breakthrough,” Davidson says. “We now actually have treatments that have been approved in some parts of the world. Duchenne youngsters are able to take part in more clinical trials than ever before, and they are doing things that 20 years ago were only a dream.”

Defeat Duchenne Canada will mark this milestone with a number of events and announcements throughout 2018 and we invite all Canadians to join us.

We are inviting members of the public to continue the legacy created by John by joining the Virtual Walk-Run-Roll across Canada. This event will see Canadians across the country come together to walk in their communities, raise funds for research, and add their steps to the total across Canada.

On April 10, 2018, 20 years to the day after John began his walk – and what would have been Jesse’s 38th birthday – Defeat Duchenne Canada will hold a special fundraising dinner to celebrate 20 years of hope and innovation. We will also be premiering a special documentary film, currently in production. “The Journey Continues” will take place at Goodwill Industries in downtown London, and tickets are on sale for $75.

Information about these and other events can be found at or by calling the office at 519-645-8855.


Defeat Duchenne Canada background information

Defeat Duchenne Canada is a partnership of science and families dedicated to the discovery of treatments and a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Founded in London, Ontario in 1994, Defeat Duchenne Canada is the only charity in Canada solely focused on funding research into Duchenne and is known and respected internationally. Defeat Duchenne Canada is named for Jesse Davidson, son of John and Sherene Davidson, who was diagnosed with Duchenne in 1986 at the age of six years old. He died of complications related to Duchenne on November 6, 2009.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy background information

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most common fatal genetic disease diagnosed in childhood. As it is linked to the X-chromosome, it is found almost exclusively in boys. It is estimated that 1 in 5,000 boys are born with Duchenne. Diagnosis typically occurs in the pre-school or early school years when boys exhibit difficulty with running, going up and down stairs, or getting up from a sitting position on the floor. The muscles gradually deteriorate and the ability to walk is lost around age 12, the use of upper extremities is usually lost during the teenage years, and the average life expectancy is 25 years. There are no approved treatments in Canada, although there are several clinical trials in progress. Treatments to slow the progression of the disease have been approved in the European Union and the United States.

For more information, please contact:

John Davidson, Founder and Board President [email protected] Wendy Sanderson-Culley, Managing Director 519-645-8855 x227 or [email protected]