British man fundraising for sick kids attacked in Banff

CALGARY – A British man running across Canada to fundraise money for sick children says he was the victim of an unprovoked attack while in Banff on New Year’s Eve.

27-year-old Jamie McDonald from Gloucester in southwest England began his journey across Canada in March.

His goal was to run from coast to coast, raising money for two UK-based charities (Great Ormond Street Children’s Charity and the Pied Piper Appeal) as well as children’s hospitals throughout Canada.

“I decided to celebrate for New Year’s Eve. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a couple beers so I did, I celebrated,” explains Jamie. “After the party, I went to a hotel and had a beer there. On the way out, there was some people in a room with a door open, and they spotted me and dragged me into the hotel room and they repeatedly started to punch me.”

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Jamie says he left his bag behind in the room as he scrambled to get away. It included all of his possessions, including his camera and wallet.

“It’s got my whole life in it,” he says. “It was like my whole world got ripped apart.”

As a child, Jamie was in and out of hospital for nine years with a rare spinal condition known as syringomyelia, as well as a very weak immune system.

His struggles are what inspired his fundraising efforts.

Jamie has been posting videos of his journey on YouTube, and posting updates on Twitter and Facebook.

He first tweeted about his missing bag early Wednesday morning, asking for it to be returned.

Later, Jamie tweeted that the experience left him shaken up.

His supporters were shocked by the incident, and took to social media to share their support.

Thankfully, just hours later, Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen says RCMP were able to recover all of Jamie’s belongings.

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In an update on his website, Jamie says whoever took his bag decided to give it back, saying it was “found at/near the place [he] left after the attack.”
WATCH: Global News interviewed Jamie about his fundraising efforts in December