Six-year-old treks 35 km for frontline workers

An Amherstview, Ont. six-year-old has raised over $2,100 for The Frontline Fund, supporting Canada’s health care workers, by walking 35 km back and forth in front of his house. 

Vincent Kotuk completed the trek in 100 laps up and down the hill on his street. According to his father, Mike Kotuk, it took roughly 30 hours, completed on Thursday, May 21, 2020.

“He ended up getting the idea when I showed him Capt. Tom Moore,” Kotuk said, “He asked ‘Dad, can I do that?”

Capt. Tom Moore, a 100-year-old British veteran, recently raised over £32 million ($55 million) for the U.K.’s National Health Service by walking 100 laps of his garden during COVID-19 lockdown.

“I told him ‘No Buddy, no one is going to sponsor you to walk across our lawn,’” his father said.  “So he decided he was going to do the hill in front of our house.”

“We discussed it for the next two or three days, what it actually meant, what he was getting himself into,” Kotuk said. When Vincent persisted, his father decided it could be a good opportunity, a chance for the boy to accomplish something and learn a lesson. 

Trying to work his son slowly towards the goal, Kotuk asked him to do 15 practice laps on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. That night Vincent asked “Dad, can I just start tomorrow?”

Vincent completed 29.5 km in 84 laps of the street between 5:45 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. 

Vincent runs across the chalk line he drew on his street to mark the top of a lap. Photo by Samantha Butler-Hassan.

His father accompanied Vincent on all the laps except one, “because he wanted to make sure he ran the most laps,” he said.  Using the Strava App to watch their distance, he checked in continuously with Vincent to make sure he was feeling well and happy to continue. 

Vincent said he never at any point felt like he wasn’t up to continuing, and felt good to know that he had raised so much money. He’d already exceeded his fundraising goal of $1,000 by Wednesday afternoon.

Vincent’s father said they kept the day interesting by carrying hockey sticks, water guns and stuffed animals, dribbling basketballs, and used an umbrella to avoid the strong afternoon sun. At 40 laps, Vincent took a long break for some TV and, at 84 laps, called it a night.

“I’m certain we could have done [all 100 laps in one day] if we’d stayed up late,” said his father. “But he’s a little kid, he shouldn’t go that deep into the bank.”

Vincent had trouble getting to sleep after his busy day, so he bunked in with his dad.

“His very first words to me when he woke up in the morning were ‘Dad, when can we finish?’” Kotuk said.

By noon on Thursday they had completed their laps and raised $2,000. That afternoon, Vincent went outside to play basketball.

“He definitely likes being active, like non-stop,” Kotuk said, noting that Vincent has participated in the K-Town Kids Triathlon, as well as two children’s triathlons in Picton, Ont.  

The money raised in Vincent’s fundraiser goes towards the Frontline Fund, which distributes money to Canadian hospital foundations dealing with Covid-19 across the country. The fundraiser is open until Sunday, May 31, 2020. Donations can be made here.

Samantha Butler-Hassan is a staff writer and life-long Kingston resident. She is a news junkie and mom who loves reading and exploring the community.

This article has been made possible with the support of the Local Journalism Initiative.


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