Nancy Morgan of Fox Point took the ultimate challenge -- to do the Ultimate Climb at the American Lung Association Fight for Air Climb. Morgan mounted the 1034 steps of the US Bank Center six times in one hour, the greatest number of climbs in this year's event.
The Climb was held on Saturday, March 17. More than 1900 climbers registered for the event this year in an effort to fight lung disease, raising over $390,000 -- $30,000 over the organization’s goal. Some walked, others ran; a few of the most athletic -- including Morgan -- climbed the 1,034 steps more than once.
At last year’s climb, 1500 climbers raised $305,000.
“We had an aggressive goal, but we surpassed it, both in terms of the number of climbers, as well as funds raised,” said Sue Swan, Executive Director. “To draw this many people, so committed to fighting lung disease just shows how huge – and personal – this issue is.”
78 climbers participated in the Ultimate Challenge, climbing the 1,000+ steps anywhere from two to six times in an hour. Along with Morgan, five other individuals made the trip up and down the steps six time -- Greg Smith (Middleton), Brian Duhn (Chicago), Melanie Steinbarth (Fond du Lac), Laura Ketelhut (Mt. Calvary), and Justin Stipan (Milwaukee).
Smith also achieved the fastest overall time of 6:22. Alyssa Perry (Mequon) posted the fastest time for women with 7:42.
Christine Kuerschner (Milwaukee) was the highest individual fundraiser with over $8,000 in donations. Five others raised more than $2,000 each including Chris Cahlamer (New Berlin), Julie Collens (Shorewood), Kay Wolferstetter (Milwaukee), Renee Sinjakovic (Germantown) and Debbie Blagg (Sturtevant).
Family/friends teams were led by: SQUEEZE, Climbing Cahlamers & Friends, Success is a Choice, Brew City Cross Fit, Climbalicious, Anchor, Swat Climb, Blazing Bronchi, Today’s TMJ4/Journal Communications, and Team Palmer, each raising over $3,000.
The top three Corporate fundraising teams were Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, $37,030; Hydrite Chemical, $15,197; and Northwestern Mutual, $10,315.
23 firefighter teams competed in this year’s Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Firefighter Challenge, climbing in full firefighter gear, an added weight of approximately 70 lbs. West Allis Fire Team 1 regained the first place title with an average time of 9:15. West Allis had won the competition in 2009 and 2010, but was upset by Fitchburg Fire in 2011. West Allis also had the fastest individual firefighter – Joe Gapinski, who made it to the top in 8:02. His team also included Steve Kaltenbrun, Andrew Brownson, Jesse Schwark, and Steven Peterson.
2nd – 10th place firefighter teams were:
2. Waukesha Fire Department Team 2 – 10:09
3. SWAT Climb 2012 (Milwaukee Police Department) – 10:45
4. West Allis Fire Team 2 – 10:53
5. Middleton Fire Department – 11:09
6. Fitchburg Fire – 11:11
7. Waukegan Firefighters Local 47 – 12:00
8. Milwaukee Fire Department (MFD) Explorer Post 875 – 12:16
9. Mequon Fire Department East – 12:19
10. SFD 83 (Sheboygan) – 12:54
The top 10 fundraising teams among the firefighter/police teams included:
1. Swat Climb 2012 -- $3403
2. Eagle Fire Department -- $3132
3. MFD Explorer Post 875 -- $2599
4. Police! (City of Milwaukee) -- $1565
5. BGCFR (Bloomfield Genoa City Fire & Rescue) -- $1517
6. MFD 07/26/10 -- $1435
7. Town of Salem Fire/Rescue -- $1385
8. DVFD (Deerfield Volunteer Fire Department) -- $1125
9. Middleton FD -- $895
10. City of Burlington Volunteer Fire Department -- $865
An awards ceremony will be held this year on April 17 at Trinity Three Irish Pubs. Prizes will be awarded for:
• Best Mission-based Web Page
• Most Spirited Team
• Best Team T-shirt
• Most Inspirational Climb Team
• Most Inspirational Climber
• Top 3 Fundraisers – Teams (Family/Friends)
• Top 3 Fundraisers – Teams (Corporate)
• Top 3 Individual Fundraisers
• Fastest 3 climbers in each age range
• Anthem’s Firefighter Challenge – Fastest Team
• Anthem’s Firefighter Challenge – Fastest Individual
• Anthem’s Firefighter Challenge – Top Fundraising Team
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield again served as the event’s Presenting Sponsor.
“We’ve been proud to support this event since its creation four years ago and it gets bigger every year,” said Dr. Michael Jaeger, managing medical director for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin and a member of the American Lung Association of Wisconsin’s Board of Directors. “By taking on more than 1000 stairs, event participants not only accomplish a great physical feat, but also – and more importantly – support the outstanding work the American Lung Association is doing to fight lung disease and help people improve their health.”
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