Blue Cross “Climbatizers” Trek Up 70 Flights of Stairs to Fight for Air
The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Climbatizers are no stranger to flights of stairs and sore legs.
Climbatize is a team of Blue Cross employees, friends and family that participate in the Fight for Air Climb-Detroit through the American Lung Association. Each year, they set out with a goal to climb Michigan’s tallest building: The Renaissance Center.
For months, the members have been training to make the trek up 1,035 stairs – 70 floors – in order to show their support for those with lung disease.
“The type of training varies for everyone,” said Kristie Stocker, Climbatize co-captain. “There was a group of us in the [Blue Cross] Tower that would climb 24 to 48 floors a day to ensure we were ready. This isn’t a horizontal run. This is a vertical fight against gravity and when you’re on the 60th floor, you need that endurance and lung power to get you to the top.”
Last week, forty Climbatizers successfully reached the summit of the Ren Cen. How’d they make it? Motivation and support from their team.
“Just before the climb, we organize a Meet & Greet, so we can put faces with names, build camaraderie, answer questions and quell rookie fears of climbing 70 floors. On the day of the climb, we get together for a big fun pep rally,” Stocker said. “When you create a culture of contagious positivity and energy, you get teammates that encourage each other, lift each other up and come together for an excellent cause. It’s a true win-win.”
The Climbatize team raised more than $11,000, the second highest fundraising team in the entire event. Jessie Jimenez-Schlicht, the association’s coordinator for the climb, told The Detroit News the climb raised a total of $286,000. The money will be used for lung disease research, smoking cessation support and clean air advocacy and education.
“Nearly all first time climbers are shocked at how 70 floors wasn’t as bad as they originally thought,” Stocker said. “In fact, most people are so pumped after their climb that they want to do it again!”
Climbatize is supported through Active Blue, an Employee Resource Network at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Watch the video below to get a behind-the-scenes look at Blue Cross’ Climbatize team:
Photo Credit: BCBSM