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Guelph, Ont., woman to celebrate special birthday with 100 walks for 100 years

A 99-year-old woman in Guelph, Ont., plans to do 100 walks by the time she turns 100, raising money in the process for the poverty relief charity Hope House. 

Orpha Thrasher says staying active, avoiding cigarettes, only drinking 'a little' her secrets to longevity

Guelph woman to celebrate 100th birthday with 100 walks

1 month ago
Duration 1:02
Orpha Thrasher will turn 100 in February. She picked up walking a decade ago to maintain her health, and figured, "if I'm walking every day, I might as well be walking to help somebody." Her 100 walks will raise money for the local charity Hope House. 1:02

A 99-year-old Guelph, Ont. woman plans to do 100 walks by the time she turns 100, raising money in the process for the poverty relief charity Hope House. 

In a way, Orpha Thrasher has been training for the project for years. She picked up her walking habit about a decade ago after the death of her husband, Ivan. 

"I thought, you know, the nicest thing I could do for my husband is keep my health, or try to," said Thrasher, who was married nearly 65 years. 

"So that's when I really got doing it." 

'A little dynamo'

Inspired by Capt. Sir Tom Moore — the British war veteran who raised money for health-care workers in the early days of the pandemic by walking laps in his garden — Thrasher figured, "if I'm walking every day, I might as well be walking to help somebody." 

Orpha Thrasher, 99, of Guelph, Ont., hopes to complete 100 walks by the time she turns 100. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

So far, she's raised more than $4,000 for Hope House, with more than three months left until her February birthday.

"Orpha is a little dynamo," said Jaya James, the charity's executive director, who hopes Thrasher's project inspires other people to get outside and get active. 

"I also hope it inspires people to recognize that no matter what age you are, there's still amazing things that you can do, and you can inspire people to do new stuff." 

'Keep active, don't smoke, drink a little'

Asked for her secret to longevity, Thrasher said she follows three rules. 

"Keep active, you don't smoke, you drink a little," said Thrasher, who enjoys a glass of sherry before dinner. 

Thrasher is walking to raise money for the Guelph charity Hope House. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

So far, she has no solid plans for her birthday, but suggested a trip to Las Vegas could be in the cards. 

In any case, Thrasher plans to keep walking as long as possible. 

"I feel like I've got something to prove, and the fact that somebody is depending on me, you know, is is a big incentive." 

Thrasher, left, with her daughter Ruth Parent, who says she's very proud of her mom. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

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