May is always such a perfect time of year to get outside and enjoy the many trails and walk ways in the city of Hamilton. It’s not too hot, not too cold and unless you are walking on the Chedoke stairs- not too crowded!
If you have found yourself on the Chedoke stairs in early May in years past, you may have noticed an increase in its user-ship as people prepare for the yearly Climb for Cancer event in support of the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre.
The Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre is the most comprehensive centre for cancer care and research in South-Western Ontario. Providing radiation and chemo treatment, genetic and psychosocial counselling, education and nutritional advice. It is a true institution in the city of Hamilton and has significantly contributed to the re-branding of the City of Hamilton from a “steel town” to one of the most well respected authorities in the medical community.
Since 2007, Hamiltonians and supporters of the JCC have come out in droves to participate in an incredible event called The Climb for Cancer. In it’s first year, the Climb’s 264 participants raised $23,000. Collectively their goal was to reach the equivalent height of Mt. Everest, instead the climbers made it to the peak 17 times! Their determination and incredible accomplishment inspired others to join the cause in the following years. Increasing interest and participation allowed the Climb for Cancer team to branch out by year four to involve local businesses and sports teams, which solidified the Climb for Cancer as a citywide effort.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have been huge supporters of the Climb, in 2010 TiCats Mascot Pigskin Pete signed an official life-long contract to be the Climb for Cancer host and DJ. The TiCat cheerleaders motivate and encourage climbers along the way and the players have a race to the top with the rival team from Toronto.
In 2013, to accommodate the ever-growing number of climbers and supporters they added bleachers to the bottom of the stairs to give friends and family a front row seat to cheer on climbers and enjoy the energy of the event as well as a 5km walk for those who wanted to participate in a different way. The addition of “stair support signs” and memorial signs helped contribute to the biggest year on record financially, raising over $50,000 prior to the event, online.
By 2014 the event was surpassing all expectations, with over 560 climbers and 70 walkers, proving the courage and determination of Hamiltonians and anyone touched by cancer in the fight to beat it. This year the event has grown so much that it will be moved to the new Tim Horton’s Field on May 9th 2015.
As a fitness consultant and promoter of healthy living, event organizer Brian Humphrey (pictured left) compared a patient’s battle with cancer to that of climbing a mountain. From that vision the Climb for Cancer was born and active members of the community came together to climb the stairs in support of the family and friends climbing their own mountain.
For the past three years it has been an honour to climb along side these incredible individuals and act as a media and communications advisor to their council. It has been a privilege to watch the event grow and evolve over time, without loosing sight of its original purpose. When my CHCH co-worker and friend Nicola Jones was diagnosed with cancer last year I found the climb to be therapeutic and inspirational. Now that she has past it will be an honour to climb in her memory.
For more information on how to get involved as a climber, volunteer, or sponsor please visit www.myclimbforcancer.com – see you all May 9th at Tim Horton’s Field!
– Kat Cullen
Broadcasting – Television & Communications Media, ’10
Follow Kat @katkx947
In loving Memory of William (Ryan) Hassim May 5, 1988- Feb 26, 2015