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Minnesota Man Skateboarding Across New Zealand To Combat Human Trafficking In His Native Vietnam

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A Minnesota man is skateboarding from one end of New Zealand to the other to raise money for an important cause a half a world away.

John Addicks O'Toole was adopted from Vietnam by his Minnesota family in 1999.

Growing up, he's always had an itch to help his birth country. Addicks O'Toole was living in Vietnam and tried to make it back to Minnesota before the pandemic began but got stuck in New Zealand in the process and has lived there ever since.

John Addicks O'toole
(credit: CBS)

He's now giving back to Vietnam with a long board on four wheels and the kindness of strangers from across the globe.

Every day for weeks now Atticks O'Toole gets up and skateboards about 27 miles a day through New Zealand.

"I'm just a normal guy and I want to skate across the country," he said.

He's rolling out a mission to help Vietnam help prevent human trafficking.

"I have a strong connection there obviously," he explained.

His roughly 1,000-mile journey from Stirling Pointe to Cape Reigna started about a month ago and his goal is to raise at least $20,000.

John Addicks O'toole journey
(credit: CBS)

"I've got these maps and elevation points plotting for it," he said.

The money will be donated to the Catalyst Foundation, a humanitarian organization working in some of the most rural parts of Vietnam to provide kids and their families with food, water, education and more.

"Who we work with are communities that never knew that they had rights," said Caroline Ticarro, founder of the Catalyst Foundation.

Ticarro said $20,000 would have an immense impact. Since the pandemic began, she said donations to the organization have been down more than 80%.

"It costs us $1,200 a month to feed 55 families," she said. "So [with] this money, we'll be able to feed our families for almost two years."

O'Toole said the impact the money could make in Vietnam is more than enough motivation for him to go the distance.

"I can see myself getting a bit teary about it being over, but it's a great experience," he said.

O'Toole has raised $13,000 of his $20,000 goal from donations around the world.

He's more than half-way done with his journey, and he's expected to arrive at his destination by early May.

If you'd like to donate to his cause, click here.

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