Picture yourself doing 6,000 squats in three hours. Now imagine how difficult it would be.
Sooke resident Kris Winther is about to find out, as he attempts to break the world record of 5,135 consecutive squats.
The fundraiser, called Vets for a Cure, will take place Dec. 20 at the Delta Ocean Pointe Hotel in Victoria, and Winther is hoping to raise $30,000.
He has been undergoing intense training in preparation for the event, and plans to be able to do 5,000 consecutively before the event, but save the last 1,000 for day of. Winther now does 4,000 squats consecutively one day a week.
“I want the first time I do 6,000 to be right there in front of everyone at the event,” Winther said. “I’m a definitely a little bit nervous, but I know in my heart that I’ll be able to finish.”
Winther is a veteran who has been serving for 11 years, and said since his third deployment six years ago, he has struggled with survivor syndrome, a mental condition that occurs when a person believes they have done something wrong by surviving a traumatic event when others did not. He said the fundraiser allows him to give back and make his life count.
“I felt like I should have passed away over there and had been wasting my life here, so it’s been a big goal for me to prove to myself that I survived for a reason,” Winther said.
His daughter is what inspired him to fundraise for the children’s hospital, but he wanted to take the concept of sacrificing his body, which the military often uses for fundraising, and apply it to the civilian world to raise money.
“I’ve been given a second chance, and I want to utilize it properly,” Winther said. “I don’t want to feel like I wasted my life.”
Shaun Cerisano, a philanthropy manager for the B.C. Children’s Hospital who has been working with Winther on the fundraiser, said he is very humbled by Winther’s efforts.
“It’s absolutely phenomenal to see someone who has been out on the field defending their country, come back and still be working hard for our citizens by raising money for children in the hospital,” said Cerisano. “I’m so very honoured and proud to be a part of this whole thing.”
This is the first time Winther has done a fundraiser like this, but hopes to make it an annual event and that other people will join in next year. This year’s event will be live-streamed on Facebook.
“It has been a very challenging journey but it will all be worth it in the end,” Winther said.
The website where people can donate is in the final stages, and will be updated as soon as it becomes available.