GENERAL ASSIGNMENT REPORTER
As the sun rose above Lake Ontario Humber paramedic students stretched in preparation to climb nearly 1,800 stairs to the top of the CN Tower.
The daunting task that lay before them Oct. 22 was intended to raise $75 per Humber team member that made it to the top for the United Way.
The United Way called for $10,000 in donations. They were answered with $10,600, raised by the group.
Humber students were among the thousands of people prepared to take on the task of reaching the top of what was long the world’s tallest free-standing structure.
The annual United Way CN Tower stair climb began at 6 a.m. with eager participants waiting for their turn to conquer the 1,776-step challenge.
This event is a positioned by United Way both as a spectacle that raises money, but more importantly raises awareness of communities throughout the GTA that are in need of help.
“This event is huge, it attracts 8,000 people annually with people being as old as 90 and as young as seven,” said Glenn Ewald, the director of strategic communications for United Way.
“All the money goes to a network of 220 agencies, and is all about making local communities a great place.”
More than 160 of the participants last weekend were Humber students, graduates, and alumni. A large portion of these were from the paramedic program and were competing with each other to climb the stairs the fastest.
“All the first and second year paramedic students do the climb,” said Simone Saxby, a first year paramedic student.
“We are representing Humber paramedics past and present when we do it,” she said.
In preparation for this event, paramedic students overtook the Humber gym, and other local gyms to make sure they had the strength to climb 144 flights of stairs.
“To prepare for this event I used the stair climbing machine in the gym, which definitely helped me prepare,” said James Angus, a second-year paramedic student.
Humber had buses running from both North and Lakeshore campuses to transport students to the site, and provided all students participating with a t-shirt. This event has long been a bonding experience between Humber and United Way as they have been partners for over 18 years. United Way also provides co-ops to many Humber students.
“United Way is well encompassed with Humber, so this gives us an opportunity to give back to the community,” said Paul Iskander, the director of campus services.
Even with 8,000 participants this year, nobody was able to beat the fastest climb on record of seven minutes and 52 seconds set in 1989 by OPP officer Brendan Keenoy.