Members of Canada’s tech community are rallying around Kieran McLeod, CFO and co-CEO at Vancouver-based Long Tail Financial, which conducts data analysis and visualization for cryptocurrency data.
“While a lot of people talk about using this tech for social impact, he’s one of the very few people to have actually done it.”
On a recent trip to Phuket, Thailand, McLeod, 23, was involved in a motorcycle accident that led to a total fracture of his T6 vertebrae, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down. According to a fundraiser page that was started for him, McLeod now requires assistance with the majority of bodily functions and to move from his bed to a wheelchair, where he is able to sit for just an hour per day.
“He’s been in the cryptocurrency world for a long time,” Shawn Anderson, founder and directing scientist of Long Tail Financial, told BetaKit. “He’s one of the, if not the most, advanced domain experts that I’ve met in terms of understanding the whole blockchain world and all of the different emerging technologies that are coming into the space.”
Anderson, who was with McLeod at the time of the motorcycle accident, said aside from his work in crypto at Long Tail Financial, McLeod is also extremely passionate about blockchain applications for Indigenous communities.
McLeod has been involved in the Regina-based Blockchain for Reconciliation, a non-profit that seeks to promote Indigenous inclusion in the emerging tech space. Through the nonprofit’s memberships, tech companies can receive training on best practices for working with Indigenous communities, and help with the creation of a reconciliation mandate.
Christi Olson, co-founder of Blockchain for Reconciliation, told BetaKit that McLeod was an integral part of the organization’s creation. She said along with working in crypto, McLeod and Anderson have been working with several Indigenous communities to update their existing digital infrastructure and securing their data. Olson said when Blockchain for Reconciliation was first incorporated and had no funds, McLeod moved Olson in with him, despite only having met her once, because he believed in what the founders were doing.
“He’s genuinely one of the smartest, kindest, most conscientious people I’ve met in the space,” Olson told BetaKit. “[Blockchain for Reconciliation] literally wouldn’t exist if not for his help. While a lot of people talk about using this tech for social impact, he’s one of the very few people to have actually done it.”
Aside from working for both Long Tail Financial and Blockchain for Reconciliation, Anderson said McLeod has put his own resources into Long Tail Financial, and has done much to financially enable the business.
McLead’s family is currently trying to get him back to Toronto, in order to seek treatment at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre’s spinal clinic, where he can have access to free healthcare. To get him back to Toronto, McLeod needs to be transported on a stretcher installed in the place of nine commercial airline seats and escorted by a specialized doctor.
Anderson told BetaKit the family is still waiting on final clearance to get him transported. The fundraiser page for McLeod states that the transfer costs $47,000, which neither McLeod nor his family can afford. This is on top of his hospital bills are increasing by about $800 per day.
The GoFundMe page has a goal of raising $134,400, as of publication it has raised $16,150 in donations from 317 people in four days.
More information about McLeod, and how to support him, can be found at the GoFundMe page.
Image courtesy Elias Ahonen