Ninety-nine-year-old war veteran Marvin Gord decided that he would walk one million steps by his 100th birthday, and he added a few steps to his goal by walking through Toronto’s famous Ripley's Aquarium.
According to CP24, the 99-year-old veteran is raising money through his “Marvins Millions” campaign for the Baycrest Foundation, an organization that provides geriatric residential living, healthcare, and research services in North York. He chose this organization due to his personal ties with it. Gord's wife, mother, and aunt have all used the services that Baycrest offers.
Gord told reporters: “This particular project started July the first and I’ve been doing about 20 miles a week until New Year’s Eve, when everybody celebrates my birthday”
Gord says he was inspired by Tom Moore, an English War veteran who raised a large amount of money for charity by doing 100 laps around his garden before turning 100.
So far, the North York veteran has walked more than 500,000 steps. When he reaches 1 million, he will have walked a distance equivalent to walking from Toronto to New York City. Gord keeps track of all his steps by using a pedometer.
Gord wants to walk through a few landmarks, and chose Ripley's Aquarium of Canada as his first. Him and his family walked through the aquarium Tuesday morning.
Rafi Yablonsky from Baycrest said that Gord “wanted to come and walk at different landmarks and the first landmark he chose was Ripley's because he has never been here. And he thought what a great way to come walk and spend the day with his grandkids and great-grandkids here.”
Gord’s daughter, Lisa Hemi, who joined her father in his Ripley's stroll, shares the inspiration that she has for her father, telling reporters “My dad started walking after his first heart attack. He’s walked everyday for the last umpteen years,” Hemi said. “We’re very proud of my father, he’s about to be 100 years old and to even think of doing this for that community is incredible.”
The money that raises through his “Marvins Millions” campaign will go to Baycrest’s initiative to purchase new personal protective equipment as well as the technology to enhance telemedicine.
Gord has lived a life of service. In the army, he worked as a radar specialist in the Second World War. He then went on to become a pharmacist, lawyer and a finance and human resources professor.
Gord looks forward to turning 100 and receiving a happy birthday letter from the Queen.