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An inspiring senior's wish will take her 116 storeys up

Senior Wish Association grants Barrie women the opportunity to mark her 87th birthday by doing the Edgewalk at Toronto's CN Tower

When you are 87 years old and you've already climbed to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, walked across England, spent 22 days hiking in China and completed two half-marathons, what's next?

For Barrie's Gloria Ruttkay, it will be the Edgewalk at Toronto's CN Tower thanks to Senior Wish.

Ruttkay, who now lives at Amica of Barrie, has long talked about wanting to continue with her adventures.

Life Enrichment Coordinator, Karissa Boyce, says she overheard Ruttkay talking about wanting to do the Edgewalk to mark her 87th birthday.

"Amica has a great working relationship with Senior Wish and we do a lot of things together at Christmas and I knew they had a wish granting component, so I got in touch and were told they might have some funds to make this happen."

"I have travelled the world and wanted to find adventure wherever I could. I guess you could say I'm a thrill-seeker," says Ruttkay

It hasn't always been that way. Ruttkay says she was never a very active person until she hit 54 years of age and wanted to get fit. 

She started working out at the Barrie YMCA and never looked back. She has hiked, biked, canoed, snowshoed and cross country skied around the globe. All of the extreme activities she has done have all taken place from the ages of 60 to now including mountain climbing was when she was 75. She did a tandem skydive to mark her 80th birthday.

Despite her accomplishments, Ruttkay does not consider herself unique.

She will only describe herself as "driven and an independent person who likes to stay busy. I still work out every single day."

Boyce is going to join Gloria in doing the Edgewalk. 

"I know we will be harnessed and given a safety tutorial. We will also be 1,168 feet up in the air. I think we'll both be nervous that day," said Boyce.

That will be May 28. A delegation from Amica and the Senior Wish Association will take a limo to Toronto and make it a special day.

Asked how she thinks she'll feel after its over, Ruttkay says, "I'll be proud of myself."

Any second thoughts?

"If I'm upright I'll be there," she says.

As for what's next? Ruttkay is thinking about ziplining.

She says assuredly, "I don't think I'm done yet."

The granting of the wish is possible, in part, thanks to fundraising done by students at  the Kempenfelt Bay School.

There will be a cheque presentation at the school May 11.

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About the Author: Wendy King

Wendy King writes about all kinds of things from nutrition to the job search from cats to clowns — anything and everything — from the ridiculous to the sublime. Watch for Wendy's column weekly.
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