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Alberta man to raise money for charity by fighting 60 people in 60 minutes for his 60th birthday

WATCH ABOVE: An Edmonton man is planning to fight 60 people in 60 minutes for his 60th birthday. As Su-Ling Goh reports, the idea is to raise money for a charity close to his heart.

Most people plan a party for their 60th birthday but an Edmonton man is organizing a fight — a big one.

Hal MacDonald, a black belt professor in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, will take on 60 fighters in 60 minutes on Oct. 19.

“One January night, I just woke up and said, ‘I wonder if I can roll 60 people in a row and make some money?'” MacDonald laughed.

The event is a fundraiser for Little Warriors, a national charity dedicated to preventing and treating child sexual abuse.

READ MORE: Edmonton’s Little Warriors marks 10-year anniversary with launch of new programs

MacDonald’s sister, Donna Saskiw, was abused as a kid by a neighbour.

“[The abuser] got [my sister] in a position of trust,” MacDonald said.
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“I’ve seen the hardship it caused my parents, my brothers… it’s difficult.”

MacDonald wants to help other survivors and to help Little Warriors educate people about how to spot and stop child sexual abuse.

The organization’s founder and chair describes MacDonald as an “angel.”

“I love how he loves and supports his sister and all our little warriors,” Glori Meldrum said. “He is a role model for standing up for kids who have been sexually abused.”

MacDonald discovered jiu-jitsu at age 50, when some younger friends at the gym dared him to try it.

He had always been active in hockey, running and boxing, but found the martial art fascinating.

“It doesn’t matter [about] your religion, your education level, where you come from… once you’re on the mat, we’re all equal,” MacDonald said.

“When you leave the gym… your brain is fresh. It’s really refreshing for the mind.”

It took him seven years to achieve a black belt, a rare feat in jiu-jitsu. Most students need at least 10 years to get to that level.

MacDonald’s opponents will include 24 black belts, women and children. Some have called the challenge “nuts.”

“I’d rather be a crazy old man and help some kids than lay at home and die on the couch,” MacDonald said.

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Anyone is invited to watch on Oct. 19 at 11 a.m. at Rodrigo Resende Academy on St. Albert Trail. More details can be found on Facebook.

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