99-year-old WW2 veteran is walking 100km to fundraise for hospitals
George Markow, a Second World War veteran residing in Newmarket, Ontario, has been walking laps around the courtyard path at the Roxborough Retirement Residence, in support of frontline health care workers who are battling COVID-19. His goal is to reach 100 kilometres by his 100th birthday, and by doing so, raise $100,000 for the Southlake Regional Health Centre and Sunnybrook Research Institute.
Since launching his initiative, Markow has already walked 50 kilometres, and will need to make his way through the courtyard path another 750 times in order to reach his goal. His GoFundMe campaign has already raised over $25,000. “This is a way to give back, and at my age, I don’t know another way to give back,” Markow said.
Markow has had quite a remarkable life story, so much so that he's written a memoir. My Not So Ordinary Life is a detailed account of Markow's life which begins in a small farming and fishing village in Communist Russia, where he was born in 1921.
“We had one horse, one cow, four sheep, one pig, and a dozen chickens that were our meat and milk supply for the whole year,” he writes. “We lived in a house consisting of one living room with a Russian type of peshka (stove) and two cold rooms. Our whole family lived in one room — seven people — the other room we used for storage.”
At age 19, he was drafted into the Russian army as a telegraph machine operator. Midway through the war, he was captured by the German army and endured years of starvation and mistreatment until he was finally released and moved to Canada when the war ended.
“If you only know how blessed we are, to live in a country like this,” Markow said.