100-year-old Muslim man raises 207,000 for COVID-19 victims by walking laps while fasting
via Chris Grandison / Twitter

Dabirul Islam Choudhury, a 100-year-old Muslim man in the UK, has raised over $207,000 for those affected by COVID-19 by walking laps in his 260-foot-long community garden while fasting for Ramadan.

The funds were raised on his Just Giving page and will be donated to the Ramadan Family Commitment (RFC) Covid-19 crisis initiative, run by British-Bangladeshi television broadcaster Channel S.

The program raises money for vulnerable individuals during the 30-day period. Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community.


Muslims observe the period by fasting every day from dawn to dusk. The fast is said to create a raised level of closeness to God.

Choudhury set himself the challenge of walking 100 laps during the Muslim holy month which ends on May 23. He was inspired by Colonel Sir Tom Moore, the 100-year-old war veteran who raised almost $40 million for the UK's National Health Service (NHS) by taking laps of his backyard.

For is efforts, Moore will be knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

Choudhury has used the occasion to send a message of unity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Thank you for your generous donations," Choudhury said. "We have proved that we can stand hand to hand and shoulder to shoulder during the most unprecedented time of our lives."

He also congratulated Moore for his knighthood.

"I would like to congratulate Captain Sir Thomas Moore for being knighted for his exemplary efforts to raise funds for our NHS," Choudhury continued.

Choudbry says he is "honoured to serve, and will continue fiercely to fight for COVID-19 victims."

Choudhury's efforts won him praise from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. "On behalf of @UKLabour, I would like to thank Dabirul Islam Choudhury for his incredible fundraising effort," the Labour leader tweeted.

"I know he has now raised well over £150,000 for those affected by coronavirus in the UK and Bangladesh."

via Keir Starmer / Twitter


For a 100-year-old man to do laps in an 260-foot-long garden is a feat in an of itself. But to do so while fasting is truly incredible. According to his son, his journey has only made him stronger. "When we started, we started at a small pace but he's been increasing his number of laps he's doing," his son, Atique Choudhury, told the BBC.

"The problem we have is that we have to try and stop him because he wants to carry on," he added.

Choudhury was born on January 1, 1920 in British Assam (current-day Bangladesh). In 1957, he moved to England to study English literature. Because of his education he would grow to become a community leader and has worked tirelessly to help the people of Bangladesh.



Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less