Rick Kellow has done many things over his almost 90 years.
This has included serving in the air force for 20 years and eight years on council in Comox. Now, he wants to mark his upcoming 90th birthday by lacing up his shoes for a good cause. He is raising money for You Are Not Alone (YANA). The Comox Valley organization raises money to help families with extra medical needs.
“We’re all alone this past year,” he says. “I thought it would be a good year to support YANA.”
He says he was inspired because so many people right now are alone because of the pandemic. YANA, on the other hand, provides support for families with children or pregnant mothers who require extra medical treatment and can face costs from travel and accommodations – to let them know they are not alone during tough times.
Already a regular walker, Kellow plans to head out from his Courtenay home to cover a kilometre every day for 90 days from Jan. 17 up until his 90th birthday on April 16 – in other words, do 90 for 90. He exercises regularly but plans to rely on some various clothes, such as raincoats, heavy jackets and toques he makes himself, to cover the changes in weather he can expect over the 90 days, especially during the earliest ones.
“I’ve done walks but not fundraising walks,” he says.
He has a basic route set up with some variations, but they all work out to roughly the same distance. He might even pick up some kind of digital pedometer to keep track of his clicks.
“I’ve got two or three different ways to go, but they’re all the same,” he says. “It doesn’t matter what way I go, it all adds up to the same distance.”
He is also bringing with him his trusty walking stick, part on an old dried-out vein from a saguaro, a large cactus common in the American Southwest.
“I picked this up in Arizona,” he says.
Anyone who wishes to contribute should go to YANA’s webpage at https://www.yanacomoxvalley.com/donate/ and hit the “Donate Now” button, or follow the instructions on that page to make an e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org. Kellow’s supporters can also donate via cash or cheque at the YANA office at 102, 2456 Rosewall Cres. in Courtenay during office hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.