A group of local brain injury survivors and supporters had a hero’s welcome for one of their own Friday, as fellow survivor David McGuire arrived in Victoria following a remarkable journey.
With the support of BrainTrust Canada, a non-profit organization involved in national injury prevention strategies, McGuire set out from St. John’s, NL in April and ran a marathon a day unitl he reached Victoria.
His trip, dubbed A Run to Remember, has raised money to create a legacy fund to promote brain injury prevention and develop support strategies for Canadians living with brain injury.
Awaiting him Friday afternoon were members of a brain injury survivors running group organized by the Victoria Brain Injury Society, as well as a handful of VBIS volunteers and staff. The runners met McGuire downtown and ran alongside him for the last two kilometres of his trek, which wound up at Mile 0 on Dallas Road.
One of those runners is Brad Cownden, who last year completed a cross-country trip of his own. Inspired by an aunt who suffered a brain injury 10 years ago, Cownden rode his bicycle across Canada to raise awareness of the condition. He’s a big proponent of the benefits that running and cycling can have for brain injury survivors.
“There’s research that shows that moderate exercise that is repetitious is really healthy for injury recovery, so something like running, something like cycling is really a positive experience,” Cownden said.
An event like this is important for brain injury survivors to see that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, says the society’s director of resource development.
“It gives people hope,” said Nicole Nelson, who also took part in McGuire’s homestretch run. “David was told that he’d never again, and he’s run a marathon a day. So that gives clients that we have that hope that they too can get over their hurdles and find new ways of participating in life.”
VBIS began its running group this past July, and McGuire said it’s fellow survivors like them that provided the inspiration for his journey.
“Everybody here, man, this is the reason why. For all these people,” he said.
“It’s been fantastic.”