Climbers ages 8 to 82 to
climb tallest building west of Mississippi for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Ershler’s new book TOGETHER
ON TOP OF THE WORLD available for signing at climb
SEATTLE, Feb. 15, 2007 –
Ershler, who battled life-threatening illness on the way to becoming the
first couple in history to successfully climb the famed Seven Summits –
summiting the highest mountain on all seven continents - will lead over 3,200
climbers ages 8 to 82 up the steps of Seattle’s Columbia Center, Sunday, March
18 at the 21st annual Big Climb for Leukemia.
The annual climb to the top
of the tallest building (by stories) west of the Mississippi raised $465,000
in 2006 to fight blood cancers. Along with the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb,
March 4, the Big Climb for Leukemia is one of two Seattle climbs benefiting
the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society this March.
Beginning at 8:30 a.m.,
climbers will sprint-climb 788 feet in vertical elevation (1,311 stairs / 69
stories) from the Fifth Ave. lobby level to the 73rd floor observation deck of
the Columbia Center. At 943 feet tall, the Columbia Center is about one and a
half times the height of the Space Needle.
Like many competitive fun
runs, both competitive and “fun” categories are available to accommodate all
ages and abilities with individual climbers and teams vying for best time in
six age categories and most funds raised. The public can register for the Big
Climb for Leukemia or make a donation to fight blood cancers at
“Sometimes things are
destined to be,” said Phil Ershler who along with his wife Susan will co-chair
the Big Climb. “I’ve been treated for two different cancers – one just prior
to heading for Everest in 2002, which delayed the quest, and the other just
after the climb,” said Ershler, who has also seen his Ecuadorian goddaughter
and a Whitman College classmate both survive their Leukemia diagnosis as well
as losing his friend and Mt. McKinley climbing partner, the famous Iditerod
winner, Susan Butcher, to the disease this last year.
“Surviving cancer means a
second chance at life,” said Ershler. “This is possible, in part, because of
research funded by events like the Big Climb for Leukemia. “Sue and I are
honored to play even a small roll in the ongoing efforts of the Leukemia &
In 2006, Zach Schade, a
Seattle firefighter from Tumwater, Wash. won the Big Climb for Leukemia for
the second consecutive year. “The competition keeps me motivated to stay in
shape and the fundraising for blood cancer research and treatment is
important,” said Schade, 38, who scaled the 69 flights of stairs in seven
minutes, 51 seconds, edging Seattle attorney Henry Wigglesworth by 15 seconds.
“For just the sheer time, this is the hardest race I've ever done. From the
40th floor on up it’s pure survival.”
At 81-years-old, George
Murray of Kent, Wash. and Anders Jacobsen of Everett, Wash., were the “most
experienced” climbers at the 2006 climb. Murray clocked a 16:48 for 941st
place overall, while Jacobsen arrived at the top in 21:18 for 1,239th
overall. The two octogenarians, who are expected to compete again in 2007,
were among 23 men and five women over 60 years old to compete in last year’s
More than 747,000 Americans
have leukemia, myeloma or lymphoma, the most common form of blood cancer.
Among children under 20, leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer.
In 2006, an estimated 2,640 Washingtonians were diagnosed with blood cancer
and an estimated 1,150 lost their battle with the disease.
For more information on the
21st annual Big Climb for Leukemia, please visit
About TOGETHER ON TOP OF THE
Ershler reached the top of Mt. Everest, they became the first couple in
history to scale the fabled Seven Summits. TOGETHER ON TOP OF THE WORLD
(Warner Books) is the story of their journey—through life-threatening
illnesses—to the highest mountain on every continent, to the extremes of
elation and despair. It is a love story, an adventure story, a story of
success against all odds. Above all, it is the story of two people who
refused to back down in quest of a seemingly impossible dream. TOGETHER ON
TOP OF THE WORLD by
Ershler with Robin Simons will be available at the Big Climb for Leukemia
and in book stores April 2. A portion of the proceeds from copies of TOGETHER
ON TOP OF THE WORLD sold at the Big Climb for Leukemia will benefit the
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
About the Leukemia & Lymphoma
The Leukemia & Lymphoma
headquartered in White Plains, NY, is the world’s largest voluntary health
organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing
education and patient services. Since its founding in 1949, the Society has
invested more than $424 million in research specifically targeting leukemia,
lymphoma and myeloma.
The Washington/Alaska Chapter
is one of 66 local chapters across the US, with additional branches in
Canada. Located in Seattle since 1984, the Washington/Alaska Chapter is close
to the treatment facilities where patients and families come for lifesaving
therapies. Major, annual fundraising campaigns include Team In Training®,
Light The Night® Walk, School & Youth Programs, the Scott Firefighter
Stairclimb, the Big Climb for Leukemia and The Leukemia Cup Regatta.
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