Outdoor Adventures Hosts Climb-a-thon for Breast Cancer Awareness

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To promote the opening of the rock climbing wall at Margot Connell Recreation Center and raise awareness about breast cancer, Boston College Outdoor Adventures (OA) launched the “Climb Against Cancer” program, a climb-a-thon that lasts through the month of October. 

While students can take part in the climb-a-thon as individuals or team members, there is a collective goal that all participants take on collectively: to climb the total height of Mount Everest. Only climbs through the wall’s pink route, one of the wall’s several paths climbers can follow, will fill up the meter toward the goal of 29,029 feet. Participants have currently climbed a collective height of around 23,000 feet.

“It was kind of a last-minute programming decision,” said Claire Cantor, an OA trip leader and MCAS ’20. “I don’t think we were really expected to do a program, but Eli [Crispell, assistant director of Campus Recreation] had the idea to pair [the opening of the wall] with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”

Crispell currently runs OA, which was founded in 2011. The organization’s mission is to connect BC undergraduate and graduate students to outdoor experiences; provide learning opportunities through adventures; and build leadership, teamwork, and self-reflection. OA organizes a variety of outdoor trips, as well as the Team Building Program and High Adventure Program. 

OA didn’t have enough time to develop the program into a fundraising event, according to Cantor, so the club obtained resources from areas around the University to create an awareness-raising event.

University Health Services provided breast self-examination instruction sheets, which are now available at the wall’s registration desk, and the Women’s Center provided accessories such as stickers and totes for participants. The Office of Health Promotion will be hosting educational events at the wall on Monday, and a “Women’s Climb” will be taking place from 3 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

The intent of the climb-a-thon, according to Cantor, is simple yet meaningful: celebrate the grand opening of the wall, while spreading awareness about personal health. 

“There are a lot of things that contribute to getting cancer, but establishing healthy practices is certainly a preventative factor,” she said.

Justin Lau, MCAS ’23, an experienced climber who chose to partake in the climb-a-thon, agreed that adding a monetary aspect to the program could pique student interest. As a participant in the climb-a-thon, Lau also believed that it could be transformed with better marketing.

“I feel like the fliers could have been a little more to the point,” said Lau. “There was a lot of information on the flier, but they failed to mention where the wall actually was.”

Cantor said that in the future, adding a fundraising component could help OA reach its full potential with the climb-a-thon, which could turn into an annual initiative to raise money for breast cancer patients. 

Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Editor