Whenever he can, Adam McClare prefers to take the stairs, which represent just a fraction of the steps the account supervisor at KBS+P Canada will take next month when he partners with Hart Togman, an account executive at MacLaren McCann, to climb the 19,347-foot Mt. Cotopaxi in Ecuador.
The endeavour is a fundraiser for an organization the two created last year called Summit for SickKids, which raises money for the oncology department and Cancer Genetics Research Program at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.
Both young men – McClare is 26, Togman 24 – have been directly affected by the disease: McClare’s mother is a cancer survivor, while Togman’s young cousin was treated for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at Sick Kids.
“We didn’t want to create your average fundraiser where you run or bike,” said McClare. “We wanted to do something unique and interesting that would push us to our limits.
“After seeing what my mom went through… I didn’t want this to be a walk in the park – it’s probably going to suck and be really difficult,” he added. “You never know how your body’s going to react to altitude, but it’s all about that challenge and putting everything in perspective.”
While McClare has already tackled more technically challenging peaks in New Zealand and Portugal, Mt. Cotopaxi – one of the highest active volcanoes in the world – represents the tallest peak he has ever attempted.
Togman has already tackled Africa’s Mt. Kilamanjaro, although his summit bid fell short when his brother became seriously ill at around 15,000 feet and had leave the mountain.
Both McClare and Togman climbed Washington State’s 14,411-foot Mt. Ranier last year, raising $15,000 for Summit for SickKids in the charity’s first year.
Base camp for Mt. Cotopaxi is at 15,000 feet, where the air is thinner than an Olsen Twin, the temperatures are frigid and the terrain is treacherous. The approximately seven-hour summit push is set to begin at midnight on Dec. 14.
To date, McClare and Togman have raised $15,000 of their stated $20,000 goal for this year’s fundraiser, thanks to contributions from companies including Church & Dwight Canada, KBS+P Canada, Asigra, BackUpHeroes.com, Starkman, Salsberg & Feldberg Chartered Accountants and ESKA Natural Spring Water.
Another fundraising event is scheduled for this Nov. 17 at the Stirling Room in Toronto’s Distillery District.