By Marta Kazymyra MD and A.J. Telles
The Big Climb will happen again on Sunday, March 25. What is the event and why do 6,000 people (including myself) climb the Columbia Tower?
The reason for this yearly undertaking is to help find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma as well as numerous other blood cancers. We participate to raise money for research and to improve the quality of life of patients and their families as a result.
Each day, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society sponsored researchers come closer to our goal of finding a cure. LLS, as it is known, is currently funding 10 research projects at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington Medical Center.
Much of the money that we raise in Washington stays right here, as the Seattle area is considered a center of excellence for research and treatment of blood cancers. Larissa’s Crew is a group that has been climbing for Larissa Dhanani, a dear friend, who developed leukemia and received a successful stem cell transplant in Seattle eight years ago. Without the transplant and the research required to make that a reality, she would not be with us today.
So far, our team has raised over $240,000 and we expect to reach the $300,000 mark by the end of this climb. That is an amazing amount of money for a small group such as ours, but we are all very passionate about the cause.
Climbing 69 flights of stairs, one step at a time, is not an easy undertaking, nor is canvasing for donations; however, it pales in comparison to the challenges faced by blood cancer patients.
These cancers target all age groups from infants and toddlers, to teens and young adults, individuals in the prime of their lives all the way to those that have worked hard and are looking for a peaceful retirement – no ages are spared.
As a practicing family physician, I see these diseases and the devastating effects they have on families on a weekly basis. So, yes, I will be climbing once again with my 11-year-old grandson, A.J. Telles and we hope to surpass our total of $10,000 in donations.
He is also very passionate about this cause and will be climbing for the third time. We have several other young students that always beat us old folks to the top and are very enthusiastic fundraisers!
Donations are all 100 percent tax deductible and can be dropped off at my office Bay Medical Clinic, 377 C Street or you can go to LLSWA.org/goto/crew18 and click on one of our names, followed by ‘donate now.’ It’s that easy. Your support is very much appreciated.