Walking For Joy: N.S. centenarian determined to bounce back after fundraising plans sidetracked by fall
LUNENBURG, N.S. -- Centenarian Joy Saunders won the hearts of Maritimers earlier this month when a video posted on social media showcased her sense of humour and big heart.
The Lunenburg, N.S., woman planned to walk 0.8 kilometres 102 times before her 102nd birthday in October, to raise money for the Victoria Order of Nurses.
However, Joy’s fundraising plans were sidetracked when she fell on the stairs in her home and broke a couple of bones.
“I think that the main thing that she wants people to know is that she is really keen to get back on the road,” says Joy’s friend, Nancy Regan.
Despite the fall, Joy is determined to bounce back and continue walking.
“She said to the medical team at the Bridgewater Hospital, 'OK, you guys have to get me on my feet as soon as possible because I have work to do. People are counting on me,’” says Regan.
“She has eight kids and believe me, they're going to make sure that she rests right now.”
So far, Joy has walked her route 30 times. While she recovers, Regan is hopeful others will take over her mission.
Regan created a Facebook group called “Walking For Joy” and is encouraging people to post videos and messages so that Joy can see the impact she's had on so many.
“If we can all be walking for Joy then I think it will really raise Joy's spirits and inspire her, but it will also help us all feel a sense of contribution,” says Regan.
Joy has already raised more than $50,000 and, with her birthday still months away, there is plenty of time for that number to rise.
VON officials say they're eternally grateful for what Joy is doing and they can't wait to see her walking again.
“She has been a beacon of light in what has been a really challenging time,” says Emily Hemlow, the fund development manager for VON.
“My wish to Joy is a quick, quick recovery. She's an amazing human being and an amazing woman and we're so grateful for her.”