101-year-old Oak Bay, B.C., veteran raising $101K for COVID-19 aid by walking 101 laps
VICTORIA -- A 101-year old Second World War veteran in Oak Bay is hoping to raise $101,000 for COVID-19 relief efforts amid the pandemic.
To raise the money for Canada’s Save The Children charity, John Hillman will be walking five laps around his retirement home courtyard every day, until he does so 101 times.
Hillman’s fundraising efforts were inspired by the story of a 100-year-old veteran in England, Capt. Tom Moore, who set out to do 100 laps of his garden for charity.
The veteran’s goals captured international attention and the centenarian raised a staggering $50 million for his country’s health-care system.
That’s when Hillman’s wheels started turning, and he decided to try to do his part for Canada.
“Since I’ve done 101 years, I’m going to do 101 laps and hopefully raise $101,000,” he said.
Hillman was born in South Wales in 1919. At the age of 17, he joined Britain’s Royal Air Force in 1937, and he has the medals to prove it.
While Hillman is more than a century old, his daughter says that she’s confident her father can reach his goal.
“I think it’s well within his capabilities,” she said. “It’s going to be a huge landmark for him.”
As the veteran takes to the pavement every day, he says his thoughts are always with his wife of 79 years, Irene.
Irene turns 99 next month, and is in a long-term care home, just a few minutes away from Hillman’s retirement home.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has made it impossible for the two to visit in person.
“The only message I can put to her is that I miss her and love her,” he said.
Hillman’s daily laps will be filmed and posted to the Carlton House of Oak Bay Facebook page.
To donate to his fundraising campaign, visit Save The Children’s website here.
As of Wednesday morning, some 501 supporters had donated $36,846 to his campaign.