Day 122 – September 18th, 1995
Day # 122 –September 18th, 1995
The sky was clear blue and once again the air was very crisp when we reached our start point at Highways 7 and 36.
The recognition factor is very high, and people begin donating as soon as we are on the road. Our OPP escort (Jane) is steadily laying on the siren, which certainly attracts attention. Just after we started our morning on the road, a lady crossed the road to hug and kiss Jesse. She had tears in her eyes when she said, “God bless you Jesse.” We hear this quite a lot. Further along the road, a woman makes a donation and says her brother has the same disease—Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. As we moved on down the road, she broke down in tears on the shoulder of George Clark, another of our volunteers.
After lunch and a rest, I pushed Jesse on to City Hall in Nepean. We were presented with hats and pins and posed for more pictures before a quick return to our motel in preparation for an appearance at the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game. When we got to the arena, Darryl Sittler and Brad Marsh (both former London Knights) were waiting for us and after doing a television interview, we were introduced to the crowd. As we made our way to centre ice, the crowd gave us a standing ovation and then they stood the entire time we were on the ice. Brad Marsh gave Jesse an Ottawa Senators jersey with the name DAVIDSON on the back and Darryl Sittler gave Jesse an autographed Toronto Maple Leafs stick before Jesse dropped the puck in the ceremonial faceoff. As we were leaving the ice, I turned Jesse’s wheelchair around and held his arm up with his Canadian flag, so he could give the audience a wave goodbye. The noise was thunderous as the crowd was cheering and applauding. This was a special moment.
And, sometimes there were things that people never heard about. When we were leaving the ice with Brad Marsh, he said to me, “You have another younger son don’t you?” When I said yes, Brad said, “We better go into the dressing room and get another stick.” That was a very classy thing to do. After the second period of the game we had to leave to get back to the motel. We are all very tired and we know that tomorrow is another jam-packed day with a visit to Parliament Hill.
The good news is that Sherene has arrived along with her mom and dad and her brothers, Glen and Richard. Both of our families will be well represented at the finish line and I’m glad that our huge family of volunteers will also be there for the finale. Just two more days.