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John and Jesse Davidson in 1995

To understand our history, it’s essential you are familiar with the story of the Davidson family. Our founder and biggest champion is John Davidson who hails from London, Ontario. While his Duchenne journey and walk across Canada began long ago, the steps he took to fight for his son in the battle against Duchenne still reverberate with profound meaning for anyone who knows how far we will go for the ones we love.

Prior to 1986, the Davidson family had never even heard of Duchenne muscular dystrophy or the ways it completely transforms lives with its debilitating and incurable symptoms. However, what John and Sherene did know was their middle child, Jesse, was not progressing towards typical milestones for a little boy his age. As they watched Jesse struggle to get up from a sitting position and remaining unable to freely climb up the stairs, they knew something wasn’t quite right.

Watch some of our historical videos by clicking the thumbnails below.

A crushing diagnosis could not defeat the Davidson’s indomitable spirit

After several referrals and even more tests, the Davidsons were told their son, Jesse, had Duchenne muscular dystrophy – an incurable and life-limiting disease that would affect nearly every single aspect of their lives. Instead of being defeated by the overwhelming realities of the diagnosis, the Davidsons knew their only chance to protect their son would come through significant enhancements in the understanding of and care for boys with Duchenne.

The legacy began in 1995 when John set out on a nearly 3,500-kilometre mission to push Jesse and his wheelchair across Ontario. The goals of this extensive journey were to raise awareness and funding for Duchenne research. This incredible feat created Jesse’s Journey, a Canadian registered charity fighting to defeat Duchenne. Three years later, John extended his mission and walked across Canada for 286 days, raising a staggering $1.5 million to uplift and protect the Duchenne community.

Read more about John and Jesse by clicking the button below.

How far would you go for someone you love

Unfortunately, Duchenne claimed the life of Jesse Davidson in 2009. But, his legacy and their vision remains our foundation: a future without Duchenne. In 2022, Jesse’s Journey (The Foundation for Gene and Cell Therapy) became Defeat Duchenne Canada (The Jesse Davidson Foundation). We are the country’s only national charity dedicated to ending Duchenne and will continue until a cure is found to ensure our boys can live long and active lives.

Learn more about our mission and join us in changing the course of this life-limiting disease.