'I know what war's all about': 103-year-old B.C. man begins fundraising walk for Ukrainian children

John Hillman, a Second World War veteran living in Oak Bay, B.C., has kicked off his fundraiser for Ukrainian children and families affected by war.

The 103-year-old began his campaign Monday, and plans to walk 103 laps around the courtyard of his independent living centre.

Hillman's scheduled to walk 10 laps around the courtyard every day, and local children are slated to join him on his walks next week.

The centenarian is raising money for the Save The Children charity, with funds going towards Ukrainian children.

"It touched my heart to see those kids being herded away from their homes and without any hope of going back to them," said Hillman on Monday.

"It only amplified my desire to help them," he said.

This is the third year that Hillman has taken on a fundraising walk for Save The Children.

In 2020 and 2021, he walked 101 and 102 laps around his residence for his respective birthdays, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity.

Last year, he braved a historic heatwave to continue his walk, when temperatures rose above 30 C in Oak Bay. On Monday, Hillman endured rain.

"The walk was wet," He said. "But I don't mind, I've been in worse weather than that during my service in the wartime."

As of Monday afternoon, Hillman had raised more than $19,500 for Save The Children. He hopes to raise $103,000 this year.

The veteran hopes that Canadians and people around the world will donate to the cause.

"I saw enough war. I served the whole of it," he said.

"I know what war's all about and I know what those kids will be facing. I was only 18 myself when I went."