Meet 101 year old Orpha Thrasher. She wants to walk two kilometres for charity in Guelph, Ont.

Orpha Thrasher plans to walk two kilometers for charity this year. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC - image credit)
Orpha Thrasher plans to walk two kilometers for charity this year. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC - image credit)

Orpha Thrasher is hoping to raise money with every step she takes on Saturday.

The 101 year old woman from Guelph will be walking in this year's Coldest Night of the Year fundraising event.

It's a walkathon where groups will walk for two or five kilometres along a predetermined route. Thrasher is the captain of Team Orpha, hoping to raise $3,000 by the end of her two kilometre walk.

This year's walk will be starting at the Hope House on Cork Street in Guelph, wrapping around the area from Wyndham Street to Woolwich Street, then back around from London Street and Paisley Street to the finish line on Cork Street.

John Collins, the community engagement manager of Hope House, said Thrasher is the oldest participant they've had for the walkathon.

"She's a tremendous inspiration. She's incredible. She's our top ten individual fundraiser," Collins said. "It goes to show you that you're never too old to make a difference. I think that's what Orpha represents to us by far."

Collins went onto say Thrasher's impact has been more than just inspirational.

"She's become quite a local celebrity. You'll see complete strangers come up to her just to introduce themselves to her and get to know her more," he said. "She's raised a ton of money for us... and it goes to help so many in our community in need."

Paula Duhatschek/CBC
Paula Duhatschek/CBC

Thrasher is not new to fundraising.

Her walk for charity helped raise $22,000 for the Coldest Night of the Year in 2022.

She said her success has inspired a handful of people, like her oldest daughter, to be more active.

"She hasn't walked a lot," said Thrasher. "But she's starting to do more walking and she's going to be what, 76? 77? So imagine having a daughter that old."

She said it's important to keep yourself moving.

"At some point, if you're not active enough, if you don't begin to be active, you're going to lose it completely. And by the time you're maybe 20 years less than 100, you are just not doing it. You're not keeping yourself alive."

Safety on ice

John Collins says Orpha Thrasher has taken precautions to ensure her safety, for example, by walking indoors on icy days.

"She's surrounded by good people. She'll be with her daughter and other family members and friends who will help her along the way."

Thrasher said she's been walking for thirty minutes every day to train for Saturday's charity walk.

"Gets addictive actually," she said with a giggle. "As long as my knees and my hips act alright, I intend to do it for as long as I can."

She plans to begin her walk at around 5:15 p.m. on Saturday with her nine teammates.