Well it’s the day before the Big Climb and like any good well-meaning slacker, I’ve been putting off this post until the last minute. I do this every year, but I feel extra terrible because the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) asked me to be a social media influencer for this year’s Cilmb!
Let me back up & provide some context. The Big Climb is the largest annual fundraiser for the Washington/Alaska chapter of LLS. Every March, around 6,000 participants gather at Downtown Seattle’s Columbia Center, and climb 69 floors of stairs to the Sky View Observatory overlooking the Puget Sound. I started doing the Climb with my family in 2013 to honor a family member who is battling lymphoma (they are currently in remission & doing great!) It’s one of my favorite ways to bond with my family and give back in the name of donating to blood cancer research and treatment development.
People always ask what it’s like to do the Big Climb - in short, it’s every bit and yet not at all as grueling as you might think it is. I average around 18 minutes with regular workouts but very little actual Climb training. I always think I’m good until about 15-20 flights in, and then it’s a real physical and mental challenge to keep going for the rest of those flights.
The thing that keeps my mind in a positive place while I’m climbing is remembering that nothing compares to what cancer patients have to go through in their battle against the disease. I’m grateful for my body for getting me up those 69 flights of stairs for 6 years running, and I’m willing to do it to honor all of these brave warriors year after year.
I’m truly honored to be a social media influencer for LLS and the Big Climb this year, even if I haven’t been a very good one. I did host an Instagram takeover at one of their Howe St. Stairs clinics and attended a fundraising clinic in January where I met a lot of superstar fundraisers and team captains. I’ve learned a lot about LLS than I have before, and it’s funny - it may have even led to some of this writer’s block I’ve had around getting this post down.
I’ve felt a lot of imposter syndrome, as if my reasons for doing the Climb aren’t “good enough” or “valid enough” as the stories I’ve heard or read from other Climbers. I’ve really struggled with crafting this post because of that. Now at this eleventh hour, I’ve finally realized that (as always) I should just keep it real, and speak my truth.
I am proud to Climb for my family member, and with my family. I love spending time with my family doing something good. I love challenging my body up those stairs every year. I love knowing that our collective efforts are making some real change to help develop blood cancer therapies that might just create solutions that save more lives. I am proud of all of that, and I’m grateful for my body to help give back in this way.
I’m really excited to Climb tomorrow morning. I hope you’ll consider giving to LLS in support of my Climb tomorrow! You can donate here.
Thank you so much for reading, to Genelyn Jaye Photography for these photos, and to LLS for having me as part of the 2019 Big Climb!