This past Thursday, April 16, Captain Tom Moore stepped outside for a stroll along his back garden, a seemingly innocent 25m walk he’d made countless times before. On this day though, it was apparent that this was no ordinary venture to stretch the legs for some fresh air. As he set out to complete 10 laps through the garden, the 99-year-old British World War II veteran was greeted by a formation of soldiers from 1st Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment, waiting patiently to pay their respects to the man who, in the span of a week, turned a small charitable gesture into a record-breaking fundraiser.
A birthday gift for others: On April 30, Captain Moore will celebrate his 100th birthday, a feat worthy of celebration and notoriety in itself as less than half of one percent of the population will make it to their 100th birthday. Instead, Captain Moore wanted to give back, using exercise and the gift of movement to turn his special milestone into a platform to help those battling the COVID-19 pandemic on the frontlines.
- At-home workouts come in all shapes and sizes: Captain Moore set a goal of walking the back garden of where he lives 100 times before his 100th birthday, 10 laps a day, and set up a JustGiving page to benefit the National Health Service charities in the U.K.
- The initial goal of £1,000 (British pounds) was met in just 24 hours on April 10, and over the next two days, Moore and his family raised, then exceeded their fundraising goals of £100,000 and £250,000.
A “one-man fundraising machine”: It was clear after the first few days that Captain Moore’s efforts were catching fire in the media and he and his family were on the verge of something special. Just how special the campaign would become in a time of global crisis was something no one could have predicted.
- In just five days, the donations broke the 1 million pound barrier, and just two days later the total had ballooned to over 9 million pounds, garnering attention from across the globe and the biggest news outlets in the world.
- Prince William and Princess Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sent Moore a personal message of admiration and congratulations and the Duke gave Moore the moniker of “one-man fundraising machine.”
- A petition to have Captain Moore knighted has received over 680,000 signatures and grabbed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s attention, who has stated he’s looking into ways to formally recognize his feat.
Still going strong: Moore finished his final ten laps Thursday, knocking out his initial 100 lap pledge nearly two weeks before his birthday, but his fundraising efforts are far from over and have now reached historic heights.
- More than £27,300,000 has been raised so far, with over one million people choosing to contribute to the campaign which will provide well-being packs for frontline health workers, recuperation rooms for workers and patients, and supplies for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- It’s the biggest JustGiving campaign in history, and when converted to U.S. dollars, the $33,000,000+ would make it the largest online crowdfunding fundraiser ever, beating the largest GoFundMe campaign by over 10 million dollars.
It’s safe to say that Captain Tom Moore’s birthday fundraiser has been a success, and with 10 more days until he officially joins the ranks of centenarians amongst us, there’s plenty of time to raise more money to help others, keeping in mind the simple fact that Captain Moore has reminded us of: There’s no age limit on exercise or charity.
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