Toronto man’s marathon skating sessions for Alzheimer’s research catch attention of AC/DC

Steve McNeil holds his 1926 Skate fundraising event for Alzheimer's research in Edmonton. Monday, Feb. 18, 2019. Global News

A Toronto man’s fundraising efforts for Alzheimer’s research have caught the attention of AC/DC rocker Angus Young, who is donating a whopping $19,260 to the cause.

“I’m so stoked right now. This is my Stanley Cup,” Steve McNeil said Tuesday. “It’s been a really, really cool day.”

McNeil is a hockey player and avid AC/DC fan. He is making his way across Canada, holding marathon skating sessions in all seven NHL cities to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s research.

READ MORE: Man’s Montreal skating marathon supports Alzheimer’s Society, honours mother

McNeil’s efforts are a tribute to his mother, who battled the disease for 15 years. His goal is to skate for 19 hours and 26 minutes in each Canadian NHL city — in honour of the year his mother was born.

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“It’s all just about raising the awareness,” McNeil said Monday from Edmonton’s Jackie Parker Park — city number six on his tour.

“Believe me, if one of your family members or somebody that’s stricken by this disease, you want these people to have as many tools as they can get.”

A huge fan of AC/DC, McNeil skates the entire 19 hours and 26 minutes in each city while listening to the rock band’s music. McNeil said AC/DC’s music has been a lifelong inspiration. He even wears AC/DC-theme pants while he skates.

The band’s founder, Malcolm Young, died last year at 64 after battling dementia for years.

“It’s just my way of saying thanks to the band. Angus, if you ever get a chance to see this, brother, this is my way of saying thank you to you because your music got me through a lot of dark times in my life,” McNeil said Monday from Edmonton.

READ MORE: Malcolm Young, AC/DC guitarist and founder, dies at age 64

Well, it turns out that call has been answered. McNeil was contacted Tuesday morning by an accountant who represents Angus Young, Malcolm Young’s brother who co-founded the band in 1973. Angus Young and his wife caught wind of what McNeil was doing and wanted to donate to the cause.

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“I was speechless,” McNeil said. “It’s going to help so many people. I’m 58 years old and I feel like I’m 18 again.

“I’m over the moon right now.”

McNeil, who has worked with the Alzheimer Society since the event’s inception, said he has never told the organization what to do with the money he raises. Until now.

With this special donation, McNeil asked that the $19,260 go toward the organization’s music program.

“It just makes perfect sense coming from a band like AC/DC. I figure, you want to sink that money back into music,” he said.

“All I can think about all day long — seriously, all I can think about — is my mom and Malcolm sitting up there somewhere, sitting side-by -side and my mom poking him with her elbow and saying, ‘Told you he’s a good one.’ Cause that’s the way she was.”

Watch below: Global News coverage of McNeil’s hockey marathons in Montreal and Toronto.

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McNeil started the marathon skating event in Toronto in 2012, shortly after his mother’s death. With this being the seventh year of the fundraiser, he thought what better way to expand it than to include all seven NHL cities. He’s partnering with the local Alzheimer’s societies in each city along the way.

“This is Canada, man. Hockey is our national pastime, if you ask anybody who’s from this country. So I thought, ‘Let’s try to involve the seven Canadian NHL cities and see if we can get some kind of challenge going.’

“Nothing would please me more than to go home on Thursday night… and find out that I turned on the country like I thought.”

McNeil’s final stop is in Winnipeg on Wednesday and the unexpected donation has given him the boost he needs to finish it off with a bang.

“I am not scheduled to skate in Winnipeg until 5 p.m. tomorrow afternoon, but by midnight tonight I can see myself out there sliding for a bit because I just have so much energy in my body right now.”

Donations can be made online and will be open until the Stanley Cup is hoisted this June.

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