SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It’s an uphill battle to bring down cancer. The local non-profit On My Team16 (OMT16) is taking that challenge on literally, by bringing Central New York together to support children fighting cancer.
After going virtual last year, The Climb is once again taking place at the State Tower Building, the tallest building in Syracuse, on Saturday, November 20.
The event is OMT16’s biggest fundraiser, raising money to help families and kids living with pediatric cancer.
The Climb is also a way to honor those who lost their lives to cancer. It’s a 338 step climb up 20 flights of stairs. This year, there’s a new element, the Carry A Kid program.
20 VIP climbers can register to be paired with an OMT16 child who is battling cancer, who has battled and beat cancer, or who has sadly lost their battle.
“We’re hoping that they’ll stay in touch and really just keep each other updated on what’s going on, how the treatments going,” said Jordan Zapisek, founder of OMT16.
All the money the VIP climbers raise will go directly to the child they’re climbing for.
[To] really give them that hope that yes all these people are climbing for us but this person in specific is really focused on us and our family.Jordan Zapisek – Founder, On My Team16
These 20 climbers will wear a backpack with a keychain of the child’s name they’re paired with, symbolically carrying them up the stairs. If the child is still fighting cancer, they’ll put some special, meaningful items of theirs in the backpack.
Since last year’s event was virtual, Zapisek says the organization is down significantly on donations.
The Climb is their largest fundraising event. She’s hoping it will help get them back on track to support OMT16’s annual efforts to help local families.
Aside from the money, Zapisek says The Climb is a symbolic event to show support for our youngest warriors fighting the toughest battles.
After going through treatment during the pandemic, this year’s event will be even more meaningful.
Registration is $50 until November 1 and goes up to $60 after that.
Each year almost 16,000 children under the age of 18 are diagnosed with cancer.