Wednesday, February 20th, 2019 by Holly Richards-Purpura
Craig Wells has been involved with awareness-raising events before, but nothing like this.
“I’ve done walks for cancer, Autism, and things like that, but never something involving climbing stairs,” he said. “It really pushes people.”
Wells recently joined the Ohio Basement Authority team as one of our inspectors, and he was excited to get involved with our latest volunteer effort. He was part of a group of our employees who volunteered at the 9th annual Fight For Air Climb. The event was held Saturday, Feb. 16, at Rhodes Tower in Downtown Columbus, and it challenged participants to climb the building’s 40 floors, which is 880 stairs.
This unique event is the largest fundraiser for the American Lung Association. Senior Development Manager Brittany Sinzinger said monetary donations are still being counted, but she can already tell totals are up from last year. The same goes for the turn-out. Participants totaled almost 450, and there were 50 volunteers, including our team.
“I think everybody had a lot of fun,” Sinzinger said. “What I hope people took away is an understanding of how much lung cancer and lung disease affects people, and how important advocacy, research and education is locally.”
Wells said the event was a source of inspiration.
“I enjoyed seeing people of all ages and from all walks of life fighting to do this one thing,” he said. “It’s also important to serve our community, and I’m glad our company was out there showing that we care.”
Wells and several of our other employees, including Patrick Moonan, were stationed on the 29th floor, about ¾ of the way to the top. They provided water, throat lozenges, and encouragement for the participants.
“It was fun to be a motivator, giving high-fives and telling people, ‘you can do this,’” Moonan said. “And we got there early enough that I put the first place medal on the person who won the vertical mile (doing one mile up and one mile down the stairs in just over two hours.)”
Some of the memorable interactions Wells and Moonan had with participants included meeting an older gentleman who was a return climber and completed 15 laps, seeing a Boy Scout troop rally around one of the group’s fathers who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer, and cheering on a younger woman who was dealing with lung issues but kept going to beat her personal record.
“Some people were jogging, and some were taking it one step at a time,” Moonan said. “Some didn’t think they had another step in them, but they kept going. And it was nice that we had our new inspectors out there participating as a team and getting a feel for what we stand for.”
We also had a table at the event with information about how to create a safer and healthier home.
Our team had a wonderful experience this year, and we can’t wait to be involved next year!
For more information about the local Fight For Air Climb, go to www.climbcolumbus.org.