Tim McDonald is responsible for initiating the JMB Foundation’s involvement in the Melbourne Marathon Festival. This is Tim’s story.
The JMB Foundation is dedicated to the support of young sufferers of Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). The foundation was borne out of tragedy when James Macready – Bryan became a casualty of violence.
James was assaulted in an incident in inner city Melbourne on his 20th birthday, October 2006. When his head hit the ground his life as a popular and talented sportsman and student changed forever. Instead of dashing down the wing for the Carey Amateur Football Club, he would be confined to a special accommodation house and a wheelchair for life, hearing impaired and unable to feed himself, talk or see.
For well over 20 years Andrew Macready – Bryan (James’ father) and I have met together with several ‘mates’ on a Tuesday evening at a local pub for a beer and a chat. When James was cruelly beaten and left with permanent catastrophic injuries we were devastated, for James and for his family. We wanted to do something for Andrew, Robyn, Tom and of course, James himself and in support of the newly founded James Macready-Bryan Foundation (JMB Foundation). The seeds were thus sown for the JMB Foundation to enter a team in the Melbourne Marathon.
In order to support sufferers of Acquired Brain Injury, we needed to raise funds. I have always been a keen runner – more so since becoming too old and slow to play football. The Melbourne marathon / half marathon has been a favourite event of mine and I was thrilled to win my age group a couple of times in the half marathon. I suggested we enter JMB Foundation running and walking teams in the Melbourne Marathon events of October 2007. The date was significant as it was a full year after the incident and James’ birthday.
From small ideas great things can sometimes grow.
The grieving friends of the JMB family and other community supporters embraced the opportunity to ‘run for those who can’t’. Over 400 participated in our first year – people from all walks of life – babies in prams to grand parents. All shared a connection in some way or other to James, his family or our cause.
This groundswell of support has continued to this day. We have consistently fielded the biggest team and won some events, particularly the half marathon. My employer – Invesco, have sponsored the JMB Foundation team singlets and T shirts worn by all our runners, walkers and volunteers during the event. Two years ago Melbourne Marathon event organisers IMG, invited the JMB Foundation to become one of two official charity partners together with Cerebral Palsy Education Centre (CPEC). This gave us an opportunity for a stronger public profile but also entailed the responsibility of finding 300 volunteers to populate drink stations and intersections to support the event. The school communities of Carey, Wesley, MLC and Caulfield Grammar, identifying with the random and tragic loss of youthful potential again supported us by helping field this large team of volunteers.
Thanks to the support of all involved, we have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for our cause. This has enabled the JMB Foundation to make substantial contributions to the development of age appropriate accommodation, and the care and rehabilitation of young sufferers of ABI.
I am proud to have had a minor role in instigating the Melbourne Marathon as an opportunity to promote awareness and raise funds for the JMB Foundation – and to ‘run for those who can’t’.