Big Stair Climb Fundraiser for Cancer

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big climb 2014Exhilarating, overwhelming, inspiring and easier than you think. That’s my experience of the Big Climb, Seattle’s annual fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. On March 23, we Brown Paper Ticketeers were among 6,000 climbers culminating months of fundraising with the 1,311 stair ascent to the top of Seattle’s tallest building. Our team’s average climb time was 22 minutes and we have raised $4,251.11.

The LLS funds research and provides resources for patients and families coping with blood cancers. Some of the climbers are survivors and the rest are friends, relatives, general health nuts and other supporters. Climbing waves embark every 15 minutes all day. Between the physical crush of so many people milling around on event day and the emotional crush of why we gather, stairs themselves almost seem trivial.

Big Climb 2014 3This was my 3rd year taking the challenge. A few minutes of leisure riding the escalator from the check-in level to the Columbia Tower entrance. A moment of fresh air as we exit the building to enter the fire escape stairwell. Then it’s on. The first few flights pass quickly with an adrenaline rush. Then crowds begin to thin. It’s risky to count the floors as you climb or take a break. You share knowing glances and quick words of encouragement with strangers as you go, and a light-headed sense of accomplishment when you make it to the top. Every floor landing has posters of loved ones who passed away, which is enough to keep you going no matter how much your calves burn. On a clear day, a gorgeous view greets you from the 73rd floor observation deck. 788 vertical feet of stairs. Worth every minute and every dollar to give hope to cancer patients and their families.

Post by Erika Harder, Brown Paper Tickets advanced client service specialist. Erika and colleague Stephanie each used 1 hour of Brown Paper Tickets paid time on. What’s that? Part of our company’s not-just-for-profit business model includes 40 hours of paid time annually (for all 85 employees) to serve nonprofits.