101-year-old Oak Bay veteran surpasses $101K fundraising goal
Published Saturday, May 9, 2020 2:15PM PDT Last Updated Saturday, May 9, 2020 8:00PM PDT
VANCOUVER -- John Hillman - the 101-year-old Second World War veteran who has been walking laps around the courtyard of his Oak Bay retirement home in hopes of raising $101,000 for charity - has surpassed his goal.
As of Saturday afternoon, Hillman's fundraising page indicated he has raised more than $111,000 for Canada's Save The Children charity.
Speaking to CTV News Vancouver Island after completing his laps for the day, Hillman said he was surprised to have reached his goal so quickly.
"I underestimated - very severely underestimated - the generosity of the Canadian people," he said. "I never expected to reach $101,000 in such a very short time."
Hillman launched his effort earlier this month. On Wednesday morning, he had reached $36,000 from 501 supporters, meaning his support has more than tripled over the last three days.
The veteran's efforts were inspired by the story of Capt. Tom Moore, a 100-year-old veteran in England who set out to do 100 laps of his garden for charity.
His 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 told CTV News earlier this week.
Hillman was born in South Wales in 1919. At the age of 17, he joined Britain’s Royal Air Force in 1937. Like Moore, Hillman wears the Burma Star, a medal awarded to those who served in Britain's Burma campaign during the Second World War.
Hillman said the Englishman's medal was the first thing he noticed in stories about the British fundraising effort.
Now that he's reached his own fundraising goal, Hillman says he's not necessarily aiming to replicate Moore's feat.
He said $101,000 was "a good goal."
His work isn't over yet, though. The fundraising may be complete, but the 101 laps are not.
Hillman's original plan was to do five laps per day, but after seeing the response his campaign received, he's upping that daily total to 10, in hopes of reaching his goal faster.
"I'm very gratified for the fact that we've made the target so quickly, but now I have a target left: to do 101 laps," he said.