Brian Porter is doing 80 laps of his complex – equivalent of 49 kilometres – to raise money for COVID-19 supplies needed at Ridge Meadows Hospital. (Special to The News)

Grandpa walking 80 laps for 80 years to aid Maple Ridge COVID efforts

A Pitt Meadows grandfather and granddaughter have teamed up to raise money for the local hospital

Taryn Antalek is doing 80 laps for 80 years of life.

Okay, the Maple Ridge youth is not actually walking it (well, maybe a little bit of it).

But she’s actually leaving this grueling undertaking to her grandpa, Brian Porter, who turns 80 years old next month.

Every year, the Ridge Meadows Fund Run raises money for the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation. Due to COVID-19, the run has been cancelled this year.

So, in spirit of the Fund Run, Taryn’s grandpa announced last week that he’s holding his own “Walking 80 Laps for 80 Years,” effort, and his 18-year-old granddaughter jumped on board to spearhead the fundraiser portion of this endeavour.

The elderly British veteran currently lives in Pitt Meadows. Earlier this month, he saw a video featuring British Army officer Capt. Tom Moore – who was walking 100 laps for his 100th birthday to raise money for NHS Charities Together.

Looking for an exciting way to celebrate his 80th birthday, while in self-isolation, Porter was motivated to start a fundraiser of his own.

He intends to complete 80 laps around his complex by May 3. That is equal to 49 kilometres (the same as completing the Fund Run 10 times), said Taryn, a 2019 Thomas Haney Secondary grad and marketing student anxious to help her older relative.

RELATED: Donations pour in to ensure Maple Ridge hospital staff are fed

Taryn, who shares a special bond with her grandpa and is especially appreciative of his sense of humour, said she was eager to pitch in.

While she was quick to help launch the fundraising drive, and contributed $20 to the campaign, she is actually planning to walk, as well. She’ll be completing his last five laps with him Sunday.

“Growing up, my family and I visited him all the time. When I was little, he built me my very own dollhouse. As well, my grandpa and I both love travelling. We bond over talking about travelling, and we share lots of photos. Two years ago, my family and I even got the chance to go to New York with him. His empathetic, fun-loving personality is so fun to be around,” she said.

“You are the best Grandpa! So inspired by you!”

Every dollar goes to the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation, which funds the local hospital, and specifically the money is earmarked for COVID-19 efforts.

“$10, $20, or more, any size donation is appreciated,” she said.

“Let’s help celebrate my grandpa’s 80th birthday by helping those fighting COVID-19,” Taryn said when launching the online blitz.

The initial online fundraising goal was to generate $1,000. As of Tuesday, April 28, they had already surpassed that goal, with $1,700 donated – and the campaign running until May 7.

Several of the existing donors offered words of support, as well as money.

“Can’t cheer for Spurs right now so I am cheering for you,” said Heinz Nussbaum.

One dollar per year, one dollar per lap good going Brian,” said Doug Pothecary, who donated $80.

“We are proud of your goal and putting your effort out there for others!” said Cathy Antalek.

The Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation is a great cause. Congratulations on your choice. Looking forward to you achieving your goal of 80 laps,” said Sandra Porter.

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• If there is more to this story, please let us know about it. Email us at editor@mapleridgenews.com. We look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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