On June 1, 2020, Jon Paradowski embarked on a virtual run across Canada to raise awareness about mitochondrial disease and its impact on those affected, as well as raising funds for MitoCanada. This is Jon’s diary, where he will be giving you an update on how he is progressing.

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December 14, 2020 - 4,132 km

Jon will reach a significant milestone this week when he crosses over the Ontario-Quebec border! He’s been virtually running across Ontario since Canadian Thanksgiving on October 12th. 

Congratulations Jon in successfully running across the 5th province on his Faces of Mito journey across Canada!

Jon is an inspiration to all of us and we thank him for raising awareness for MitoCanada and all the faces of mito. 


November 30, 2020 - 3,798 km

Mitochondrial disease patients receive many forms of therapy, and it takes a team of doctors and therapists to manage the challenges that patients face. Jon Paradowski is running virtual across Canada to raise awareness and and funds to support people living with, or at risk of developing, mitochondrial disease. His goal is to raise $72,690 — $10 for every kilometer he runs. “This project is very important to me,” says Jon. “The reality is that most people will face, or know someone who will face, a disease involving mitochondrial dysfunction at some point in their lifetime.” Help MitoCanada continue education and research programs that help support mitochondrial disease patients by donating today. 

Therapies – It Takes a Village

November 30, 2020 - 3,798 km

Looks like things are getting frosty in Saskatchewan, where John has completed 3,798 km of his virtual cross country run.

Why is John running? Read about Jon and his partner Marsha’s story. 

November 22, 2020 - 3,640 km

He’s halfway there! Jon isn’t running for fitness or fame. He will emphatically tell you his odyssey is not about him. It is about you and me and the many “Faces of Mito”.

Jon is running about 160 kms a week to support people living with, or at risk of developing, mitochondrial disease. His goal is to raise $72,690 — $10 for every kilometer he runs.

“This project is very important to me,” says Jon. “The reality is that most people will face, or know someone who will face, a disease involving mitochondrial dysfunction at some point in their lifetime.”


November 15, 2020 - 3,460 km

Why is Jon completing a virtual run across Canada? To raise awareness and funds for life saving research. In 10 years, Jon wants to look back and see major progress in finding a cure, if not a cure for mitochondrial disease. 

“When I run, I think about the MitoCanada family and all my supportive friends in the community. I think about all those people that can’t run and that’s why I must not stop. I must continue this cross-Canada run for all of those people and others facing Mitochondrial disease today and in the future.”

Meet Thomas – His story in his own words

In 2012 I had a seizure at a big family event. I later went to a doctor and they said it might just pass. It didn’t. A couple years later I went to Disney World and I had another seizure. I was later put on some medications to help prevent these seizures. 

During high school I started feeling tired in my legs and body. I could not walk from the parking lot to the school without getting tired. The athlete who could play for days and run for hours was no more. We saw a million doctors and it took 4 years to diagnose my mitochondrial disease. For me this felt like 40 years. 
Throughout the years I have struggled mentally, socially and physically. I have dealt with neck pains, seizures and thoughts people can’t even imagine. I eventually broke through these barriers a couple months ago. I had some help from my parents and sometimes I just had to learn through time. I now run my own blog on Instagram called @lifesjourneythomasz. I’ve always had a passion for helping people and that’s what I plan to do. 

Do you have a mito story to share? Contact us at info@mitocanada.org and enter “share my story” in the subject field.


November 8, 2020 - 3,288 km

Jon has reached Thunderbay, Ontario, and is approaching the shore of Lake Superior, the world’s largest fresh water lake by surface area, and the third largest by volume.  As you can see in the photos below, it’s toque weather now, and keeping motivated will be challenging as the weather turns colder.  Jon ran 128km this week. That’s an average of 18km per day! 

In supporting MitoCanada, Jon is supporting diagnosed individuals, their families and caregivers with the knowledge and support they need to improve quality of life while raising public awareness of the disease and advancing Canadian research activities.

Jon and his partner Marsha took some time this past weekend to enjoy the beautiful fall scenery at Fairy Hill Trail, just north of Regina, Saskatchewan. 



November 1, 2020 - 3,160 km

Incredible running!  Jon is the epitome of our ‘one step at a time’ motto. It’s interesting to reflect this week on the fact that he is approaching Thunder Bay.

Thunder Bay is such a significant spot given it is where Terry Fox’s journey ended as he ran west.  Pretty cool to think that as Jon heads east past Thunder Bay he will be re-tracing Terry’s steps, one of Canada’s iconic individuals who proved how much one person can do.  Keep it up Jon. 💚

What keeps Jon motivated? The faces of mito. It’s the patients, families, friends and cargegivers who have been affected by mitochondrial disease. People like Thomas.

Meet Tanner, The charming mito warrior

7-year-old Tanner has always been a charmer, but his health was put into jeopardy when he was diagnosed with Leigh’s Disease at the age of 3. Through further testing, he was confirmed to have mitochondrial complex I deficiency  with Leigh like diseases. Tanner was given two years to live, but he has been defeating the odds ever since. He never stops showing this ugly disease whose boss! Speech, mobility, and everyday functions may have been taken away, but the smile on this little man’s face shows just how strong this Mito Warrior he is.


October 25, 2020 - 3,044 km

We keep using the word “incredible” to describe the mileage, but Jon has now crossed the 3,000 km mark. 3,000 km! Jon is averaging the equivalent of a half marathon a day. As you can see from his video, the snow has started to fly in Saskatchewan. As temperatures dip, and winter arrives, Jon will need your support as he continues his virtual run across Canada. 

You can support Jon by donating today at: https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/faces-of-mito-run

Congratulations Jon on meeting this amazing milestone! 

“We are getting closer to half way but still a bit even for that. 7269km is definitely a long ways to run. One step closer to the goal every day and trying to enjoy running for those who can’t and my Marsha.”


October 18, 2020 - 2918 km

Making his way across Ontario, Jon has covered an incredible 2,918 km to date. As we approach winter, having the motivation to get our there and run every day is challenging. The strength and courage of those facing mitochondrial disease is what’s driving Jon to continue each day on his virtual run across the country. People like Evan.  

Meet Evan

Evan was a happy, healthy child before going in for a routine appendectomy at age 3. He didn’t recover as expected and was left quadriplegic, having been subsequently diagnosed with mitochondrial disease. He’s fed by a tube, has trouble lifting his head, suffers chronic bouts of pain, and has no reliable way to communicate with the outside world. But despite all this, Evan’s smile is a common theme with all that meet him sharing, “When you smile, I smile.” Evan’s diagnosis led to the founding of MitoCanada in 2010, and inspired this awareness video, when you smile, I smile.

October 1, 2020 - 2,773 km

Jon’s has stepped into Ontario, having completed 2,773 kms. Incredible! Jon now starts his biggest challenge in the race, crossing the two largest provinces in Canada. 

One of the biggest challenges for patients and caregivers is receiving a diagnosis for mitochondrial disease. As it can effect the most energy intensive systems in our body (for example the liver, kidneys, pancreases, brain, digestive track, muscles), it can present itself in many different ways.

Meet Dave and Victoria.

Having your child diagnosed with a rare disease can be an isolating experience, leaving parents wondering what to do, and where they can turn to get help. One of the many Faces of Mito, Dave Mosher has first hand experience as a parent of a child with mitochondrial disease. “At the age of one, his daughter Victoria’s life was forever changed. As we so often hear with mito stories, what appeared to be a mild illness, quickly deteriorated into something that would forever alter his family’s life. MitoCanada’s Mission is to get one step closer every day to the cure for mitochondrial disease by supporting research and families to succeed.

Learn about Dave’s relationship with mitochondrial disease as a parent, and the work he is most proud of as MitoCanada’s board Chair. Watch video now at: http://ow.ly/P3Qt50AoAgO

Every day we get one step closer to a cure. In fact, MitoCanada has supported research that has reduced the diagnosis time for some mitochondrial diseases from two years to to days. This is a significant leap with regards to patients and families getting the answers they need, but we can do better.


October 5, 2020 - 2,522 km

Jon’s approaching the Manitoba-Ontario boarder, having completed 2,666 km as of this week. An incredible feat and he has over 4,000 km left in his run. Mitochondrial disease patients across the country are motivating Jon to complete his run, as a symbol of the challenges they must overcome on a daily basis. 

Meet Louise, who is overcoming challenges with grit and determination.

Walking is a challenge for Louise, but that hasn’t stopped her from building her mitoPOWER team of walkers that show up to support MitoCanada’s annual awareness and fundraising walk. Together with her sister Rita (who also has mitochondrial disease), Louise powers through despite the difficult walking distances and keeping up with other people. She takes this all very seriously by training hard and never giving up. Even her walking coach, Jennifer, is amazed at Louise’s effort and commitment.


September 27, 2020 - 2,522 km

Another amazing week, as Jon makes his way across Manitoba. 

Being diagnosed with a rare disease can leave a patient feeling isolated and alone. Having a strong support network is critical to their wellbeing.

This week, we’d like you to meet Jen, who is a friend of Jon and his partner Marsha. In Jen’s story, she talks about how “We need to be less competitive and more inclusive as a society.” 

Read Jen’s Story

September 20, 2020 - 2,320 km

Building community and providing support to those with mitochondrial disease is what MitoCanada is all about. Not only is Jon virtually running across Canada, he and his partner Marsha are working with partners in Regina Saskatchewan to raise awareness and funds for MitoCanada. This past weekend, Sound off Yoga with Zenhouse Productions hosted a yoga in the park session to raise awareness and funds for mitochondrial disease as part of the Faces of Mito.

Jon’s at 2,320 km this week, as he continues his journey. He’s now in Manitoba! 


September 14, 2020 - 2,164 km

Jon’s dream is to celebrate MitoCanada’s 10th Year Anniversary by running across Canada virtually and to show the many “Faces of Mito”. To run across Canada and to show that a dream can inspire hope in others. To spread passion, love, happiness, cooperation, and belief in one another. 

Jon is running for Marsha, Decklan, Victoria, Dave, Jen, and the millions of Canadian’s who suffer from mitochondrial disease and dysfunction. Read our stories and learn more about the faces of mito.


September 6, 2020 - 2,025 km

Jon has reached his hometown of Regina! The virtual journey across the country continues as Jon crossed the 2,000 km mark, reaching Regina, Saskatchewan. It hasn’t been without its struggles, but the Faces of Mito keep Jon motivated daily.

Jon is virtually running across Canada to raise awareness about mitochondrial disease and the over 5 million Canadians who suffer from mitochondrial disease and dysfunction, while raising funds for research.

Mitochondrial disease can strike at any age, and affects a broad range of people. We have so many questions we still need answered, as there is no cure (yet). With your support of Jon, each day we are getting one step closer to finding a cure. Learn about the Faces of Mito here. 

Here’s a video from Jon marking this amazing milestone!

September 4, 2020 - Talking about the Faces of Mito on CBC Radio

Jon appeared with Jayda Back, parent to 7 year-old son Decklan, who has mitochondrial disease, on CBC’s radio show The Morning Edition – Sask with Stefani Langenegger. 

Jon discussed his inspiration for the Many Faces of Mito virtual cross-Canada run and the progress mitochondrial medicine has made in the past few years on diagnosis. Jayda discussed what it is like to be a parent of a child with mitochondrial disease, the long journey to have her son Decklan receive a diagnosis, and what the MitoCanada community means to her and her family. MitoCanada has focused on building and connecting the patient community across Canada for the past 10 years. 

Click here to listen to the episode.


September 2, 2020 - 1970 km

Surprise visit on the run today, as the mighty Decklan and his family came out to cheer on Jon as he virtually makes his way across Canada. He’s almost reached 2,000 km (amazing!), and will have over 5,000km to go, so as much support as you can give him is welcome.

If you’ve not met 7 year-old Decklan yet, he is an amazing mito warrior, who was diagnosed with Leigh Syndrome at age 5. Click here to read his story.

Stay up to date on Jon’s progress with our weekly social media updates on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @mitocanada! 





August 30, 2020 - 1944 km

Go TEAMmito Sask! Jon has completed 1944 km of his virtual running journey across Canada to raise awareness and funds for MitoCanada. He is running for the many Faces of Mito. Mitochondrial disease can affect an individual at any age and has devastating effects on patients, families and caregivers. Learn about the patients who are his inspiration for the run at https://mitocanada.org/mitolife/our-stories/




August 23, 2020 - 1847 km

John has run an incredible 1,847 km as of Sunday, August 23rd, reaching Morse, Saskatchewan. John is running across Canada to raise awareness for mitochondrial disease and the challenges those affected by the disease face. Each month we will be highlighting someone in our Mito community. 

This month, we would like you to meet Marsha Crossman, who after three years and four doctors, was diagnosed with McArdle (a deficiency of muscle phosphorylase, causing fatigue and muscle pain during exercise) and mitochondrial disease.

Marsha is also John’s partner, and his inspiration for this run. Click here to learn more about Marsha’s inspiring story. 

August 16, 2020 - 1720 km

The beautiful wide open prairies of Saskatchewan is where Jon finds himself this week, having completed 1720 km as of August 16, 2020. 


August 9, 2020 - 1612 km

Jon is back up and running again! As of Sunday, August 9, 2020, he has completed 1612 km, and is virtual in sunny Alberta!


July 7, 2020

Quick update on the Faces of Mito Cross Canada run. Jon is taking time to recover from an injury, but don’t worry, he will be back running in no time.

Wishing Jon a speedy recovery. We can’t wait to see his progress across the map! 


June 23, 2020 - 1000 km!

June 16, 2020

June 1, 2020


Jon's Progress