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The Drive for Jillian: The Last 20k

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A couple of years ago I was recovering from hip replacement surgery and saw a news story about a local Ottawa woman named Jillian O’Conner that really struck and inspired me. Jillian, then 2 months pregnant and facing terminal cancer, had decided to ignore the medical advice she had received to abort the fetus and instead, chose to carry the baby to term in spite of the fact that it would hasten the spread of her cancer. 7 months later, Declan O’Conner was born. Declan stands for “full of goodness”, and one look at him and you can tell that he is true to his namesake.

Rather than sit on the sidelines, I was motivated to DO something to help. So I undertook “The Drive for Jillian” — a multi-city project where I intended to drive my 1959 David Brown tractor across Canada and the U.S. in an effort to raise awareness of Jillian’s brave plight and to raise funds to help build up some registered education savings plans for her 3 children.


Unfortunately, that project didn’t pan out as hoped. I couldn’t get the insurance to cover driving the tractor anywhere beyond Ontario, and although my tractor performed like a champion for the first 6 weeks, covering hundreds of kilometers, my own drive for Jillian was cut short when on June 15th it sprung a serious oil leak and could go no further. I fell $20k short of my $25,000 goal for the crowdfunding campaign and many thousands of kilometers short of the distance I had initially intended to cover.


At the same time, Jillian has been fighting for her life, every single day. She has blown past the best prognosis her doctors had for her back when she was originally diagnosed — that she would live for a maximum of 2 more years — and has gone a full year and 1/4 further than anyone believed she could. However, the sad reality is that Jillian won’t reach her goal of “living forever” and that each day poses a more and more difficult battle for her and her family.


In spite of all of that, Jillian refuses to give up. And so do I. So I am calling on all of you, my FB friends and friends of friends, to help me go the last 20k for Jillian. That may seem like a tall order, but it is no taller than Jillian’s battle to survive over the past 1200+ days. Each and every day, she continues fighting the good fight. And so will we.


Each day for the next 20 days, we are going to “travel” another 1k for Jillian. That requires 100 people each day, to donate just $10 to the cause. If you and 9 of your friends decide to join us today, that will carry us 1/10th of the way to today’s 1k. And if 10 of each of *their* friends unite behind us in support of Jillian, we’ll make it the full $1k for the day. And so it will be tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day. Until we “travel” and raise the last $20k.


If you’re still reading this, chances are that something about Jillian’s story has captured your heart, just as it did mine. Whether it is her immense courage in choosing to walk a road that few others would choose in bringing Declan to term, her indomitable spirit, her unstoppable optimism and positivity in the face of overwhelming odds, or the intensely powerful love she has demonstrated for her family as she continues to fight to be here and present for them, I hope you feel called to support her in her journey. Regardless of what tomorrow may hold, she has already left a legacy for her family, and for all of us. However, that legacy won’t pay for the education her children will need to ensure that they can become the leaders of tomorrow, just as their mom is a leader for us today.


Please join me, and push this virtual tractor another 10km, by donating another $10 to The Drive for Jillian campaign. Or help carry us even further by sharing this post with your friends and thinking of 10 of them who you feel would get behind this cause.


[GOOD] => SHARE & TAG 10 FRIENDS — Share this public FB post and tag 10 of your friends, encouraging them to do the same.

[BETTER] => DONATE $10+ — Donate $10 (or more, if you feel moved to do so) to The Drive for Jillian GoFundMe Campaign (

[BEST] => SHARE, TAG & DONATE $10+ — Share & tag 10 friends AND donate $10 or more to the cause


100% of all funds raised (minus the automatic GoFundMe platform fees and payment processing fees) will go into a not-for-profit/charity bank account I have set up for Jillian and her family. On October 21st I would LOVE nothing more than to show up at her door with a cheque for $25,000. But I can’t do that without your help. So I say in advance: Thank YOU so much for your time, your generosity and support!

Also if you would like more information on the initial campaign go to


Mike Thompson
Arnprior, ON

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