John's Story

We never know for certain just how strong we can be until that moment when we know we have to be strong.

The Beatles John Lennon was right when he wrote the lyrics to the song Beautiful Boy. Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Life seems to always have a way of throwing us curve balls we aren’t expecting. That’s when you realize that it’s not what happens to you that matters. What really matters is how you react to what’s happened.

After learning that one of my sons faced a life-threatening illness for which there is no cure—I faced the toughest decision of my life. I did what I felt I had to do. I refocused and set out to make a difference.

I chose to leave behind the security of my job and the comfort of home and to set out on an incredibly challenging 3300-kilometre journey.

We became a father and son team as I began pushing my son Jesse across Ontario in his wheelchair, in a research fundraiser that quickly became known across Canada as, Jesse’s Journey.

But that was just the beginning of the story.

Three years later, after completing our journey across Ontario, I was still working on keeping my promise to my son, to do everything I can to find a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a disease for which there is no cure.

And so, at the age of 52, I was ready to take the next steps in my fund-raising quest. I set out to walk across Canada, the second biggest country in the world!

I spent 286 days on the road walking 33 kilometres a day. In those ten months my journey spanned six times zones as I walked almost eight-and-a-half thousand kilometres from the Atlantic shore in Newfoundland to the Pacific shore in British Columbia.

Along the way there were huge challenges every day and I found myself driven by inner strength and sheer determination.

And if I faced the same choice today, I would make the same decision—because quitting was never an option.

So here is the question. Do you want to leave a legacy, or do you want to live a legacy? And here’s a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete.

If your alive—it isn’t complete.

My goal is to take you inside that roller coaster 286-day ride, and have you live that journey and see how it changes you!

Together, we’ll share the toughest, the most mentally challenging, and yes, even the funniest days on road. You’ll get a first-hand look at what grit and perseverance are all about.

I love speaking to a live audience. I love speaking to people just like you. I’ll know I’ve succeeded if I’m able to inspire you to move to a higher level of commitment because I’m pretty sure that you want to be the kind of person who makes a difference.

My family came to Canada from Scotland when I was two years old. I live in London, Ontario and my first career spanned 30-years in radio and television in London and with CBC Radio and Television in Vancouver.

My second career, the one I hadn’t planned on, began to unfold in 1995 when I went from being a news reporter to a newsmaker.

Along life’s road, my son Jesse and I have received several honours, including the Order of Ontario, a Guinness Book World Record, and an opportunity to meet Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

But real leadership isn’t about awards. It’s about doing what’s right. And it’s about keeping your promise.

I’d like to help you and your team go the distance and climb the heights that you have in mind. I believe in you. Let’s make sure that you believe in you.

Let’s see what we can make happen!

John's Running Shoes
One of the six pairs of running shoes John wore out in walking across Canada. This pair, marked # 1, is the pair he started with on day number one in Newfoundland and he put on again for the final day British Columbia.