The distance Andrew Okashimo will cover in total over the course of his charity running campaign would be roughly equivalent to the trip from Toronto to Dallas.
In a novel fundraising jaunt he is calling Six Days for Six Months, the 20 year-old Leasider is keeping fit while supporting the Sick Kids Foundation.
The campaign began on Sept. 21 and sees Okashimo run 10 km a day, six days a week through various routes all over Toronto and, as he boasts on his website, “in every weather condition Toronto can throw at me!”
He hopes to raise $5,000.
The campaign was inspired in part by the youth group that he co-directs at St. Anselm’s Church. The group of about 65 does charity and volunteer work in the community, including helping out at Good Shepherd Ministries, which offers food and shelter to the needy.
Members of the youth group are encouraged to begin their own charity campaigns so Okashimo is hoping to lead by example.
The idea for a campaign based around running came naturally to Okashimo, who started the activity with his father when he was 13.
“I run fairly often anyway, so I thought I should be doing this for someone,” he said.
This combination of physical work and service is turning into a career for Okashimo. He recently completed a pre-service firefighting course and is currently looking for a job in the field.
Okashimo’s daily runs have him travel various pre-determined routes all over Toronto, including one that goes to Riverdale via Gerrard Street East.
In warmer times he was ending the journey at Bay and Bloor where he would pass out information on the campaign and encourage people to donate.
Now that the weather’s chilled, he’s ending his routes at home.
The runner says people he meets along the way frequently stop him. They’re mostly curious, he says, about the homemade flag he carries like an Olympic torch as he runs.
“It’s a couple of posters I laminated together and attached to a hockey stick,” he said.
People may be reacting with curiosity, but they’re also reacting with their wallets. Okashimo deftly sees every chance meeting as opportunities to promote the campaign.
“So far I’ve raised 28% of the $5,000 goal,” he said.
At the half way mark, Okashimo may have to speed up to meet his goal but he remains confident.
Information about the campaign can be found at Okashimo’s website, 6d6m.webs.com, or donations may be made to the Sick Kids Foundation by calling 1-800-661-1083.
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