Question and Answer: ETalk host Ben Mulroney

In May, 2010 Ben Mulroney ran his first marathon — The Mississauga Marathon — in three hours and 47 minutes. An impressive time for the ETalk host, recognized more for interviewing big-name celebrities on the red carpet than for pounding the pavement.

ETalk host Ben Mulroney
ETalk host Ben Mulroney. Photo courtesy of CTV

But perhaps equally impressive was his fundraising efforts for what he dubbed “The Run for Big Mike.” Mike, a friend of Mulroney’s, had suffered a tramautic brain injury in 2009 in a motor vehicle crash and spent several weeks in coma. He is still on the road to recovery. Mulroney and the team involved in the run placed the funds — $48, 000 — in a trust for Mike’s family to offer them some assistance .

More recently, Mulroney ran in the Brain Injury Society of Toronto’s (BIST) First Annual 5K Run, placing third after kicking off the event with opening remarks about Big Mike and those living with acquired brain injuries.

Mulroney agreed to a Q & A with BIST. Check it out by clicking the link below:

1.      We are familiar with your marathon run for Big Mike, when $48,000
was raised for Mike and to support his family. How did his injury impact
[Ben M. Mulroney] I was shocked that someone so big and strong could be
struck down so completely.  I was touched by the immediate impact – beyond
the emotional impact – that his injury had on his family and their quality
of life.

2.      Was that the first time that someone you knew had an acquired brain
injury? Was there something you learnt about ABI that surprised you or that
has stayed in your memory?
[Ben M. Mulroney] It was certainly the most personal. What I learned was
that in a great many cases, medical science can only take the brain so far
in its recovery. There are elements of time and sometimes chance (some call
them miracles) that allow for complete recoveries, but generally, it would
seem that full recoveries are few and far between.

3.      Brain trauma and particularly the impact of concussions on sports
stars is increasingly in the mainstream media. Is it something that you are
coming across in your work with ETalk?
[Ben M. Mulroney]  Well, we are certainly seeing the impact of concussions
in professional sports. It won’t take long for a major athlete, whose career
has been halted due to ABI, to step up and be the face of  this problem for
ABI visibility to shoot through the roof. Once that happens, Hollywood
won’t be far behind in calling attention to the problem.

4.      Do you think that having TV personalities and celebrities like
yourself speaking up about the issue may lead to more resources being
dedicated to it?
[Ben M. Mulroney] Absolutely  — everyone knows someone affected by ABI and
celebrity has a way to weaving disparate stories together and
galvanizing support.

5.      From your relationship with Mike, were you impressed with the depth
of resources available to people with ABI or did you feel more was needed to
help Mike and people in his situation to recover?
[Ben M. Mulroney] I think Mike is doing tremendously well, given his
situation and, of course, if anyone can make it all the way it’s him, but
more is always needed: more research, more funding, more awareness and more
safeguards against injury.

6.      Are you still running? Any other marathons in your plans?
[Ben M. Mulroney] I do run,  although for me to run another marathon, I’d
need to feel the fire in my belly. Raising funds for Big Mike gave me that

7.      Tell us a bit about what youre working on. Any interesting projects
in the works?
Etalk has entered its 10th season, so right now, my goal is to make it the
best show it can be.


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