Coronavirus: Newmarket WWII veteran walking 100 km to raise money for medical research

George Markow walks around the garden of his Newmarket retirement home as he works to raise money for medical research. GoFundMe

A 99-year-old Newmarket man plans to walk 100 kilometres by his birthday in a bid to raise money for medical research amid the coronavirus pandemic.

George Markow, a Second World War veteran and resident of a Newmarket retirement home, hopes to raise funds for the Sunnybrook Research Institute and the Southlake Foundation’s COVID-19 Action Fund.

Markow plans to walk around the path in the home’s garden over 1,500 times, as 15 times equals about one kilometre.

“[It makes] me feel good when I can help,” Markow told Global News.
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“I enjoy that. That’s a little thing for me to do.”

Markow’s daughter, Sylvia Perkins, has created a GoFundMe account for his efforts, which as of Friday afternoon had raised over $8,400 of a $100,000 goal.

Perkins said Markow’s endeavour was inspired by Capt. Tom Moore in the United Kingdom, also a Second World War veteran, who walked around his garden and raised millions of dollars for coronavirus relief.

Moore gained international recognition for his efforts.

Perkins said Markow has had a very difficult life, having joined the Russian army at 19 and having survived prison camps over several years. He came to Canada with his wife after the Second World War.

“They came to Canada with nothing, had no support, no guidance, but persevered. And I think that’s what made him the person he is today. He never gave up,” Perkins said.

“He actually said to me, ‘After what I’ve lived through, this is a walk in the park.'”

Perkins said that Markow has already surpassed the 50-kilometre mark. He has quite some time to go until his 100th birthday, which is not until early next spring.

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“He even said if he surpasses the one hundred, which I’m sure he will, he’ll just keep on going as long as the donations keep coming in,” Perkins said.

“He’s concerned about what is happening in the world right now and what future pandemics may look like. And he has three great grandchildren and he is concerned about their future and future generations.”

Perkins said he chose to donate to Southlake Hospital as he lives nearby, and Sunnybrook, where he had a life-saving brain surgery five years ago.

— With files from Briana Carnegie

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