99-Year-Old Man Raises $17 Million for UK’s Health Workers by Walking Laps Around His Garden
He'll be 100 at the end of the month.
A 99-year-old British war veteran walked 100 laps around his garden and raised more than $17 million for the U.K.'s National Health Service (NHS).
Captain Tom Moore set out to raise $1,250 (£1,000) for NHS Charities Together by walking around his garden in Bedfordshire 100 times, just before his 100th birthday. But his campaign started attracting attention. He appeared on the news and now, as of Thursday morning, his fundraiser has collected more than $17 million (£14.2 million) to be donated to the NHS.
Moore said he started his mission in order to thank the NHS workers who treated him, both for cancer and a broken hip.
On Thursday, he set out with the help of a walker to complete 100 82-foot laps of his garden. With each lap, Moore passed soldiers who saluted his accomplishments. When he reached the finish line, Moore told reporters, “I feel fine, I hope you're all feeling fine too."
Since the fundraiser was set up last week, it has attracted more than 709,990 donors, crashing the JustGiving fundraising platform he used. They also donated more than $125,000 to the campaign.
"It's a fantastic sum of money,” Moore told The BBC. "I would never have imagined that sum of money. It's unbelievable that people have been so kind. Maybe I was responsible for starting it, but not deliberately. It was purely out of gratitude for what they've done for me."
About 150 charities around the UK will benefit from Moore’s fundraiser. These charities support NHS workers and institutions and provide vital funds to the national healthcare system, particularly now as it battles the COVID-19 pandemic.
"You've all got to remember that we will get through it in the end, it will all be right," Moore said at the end of his marathon. "For all those people finding it difficult at the moment, the sun will shine on you again and the clouds will go away."
An online petition to knight Moore has amassed more than thousands of signatures and a spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s office told The BBC they would “certainly be looking at ways to recognise" his good deeds.
Moore will turn 100 years old on April 30. He has already received hundreds of birthday cards from fans around the country thanks to a girl on Twitter who invited all of the UK to send him well wishes.