Cue the sound track for Rocky as twenty-two SJVC Respiratory Therapy students, staff and faculty joined hundreds of other greater Sacramento residents to charge up the 612-steps of the Wells Fargo Center in downtown Sacramento for the Fight for Air Climb on April 12th.
There was a lot of huffing and puffing and hamstrings were on fire, as race entrants stormed their way to the rooftop of the building, the tallest in Sacramento.
Michelle Tapp, Rancho Cordova’s General Ed instructor and Librarian, was the first from SJVC’s team to make it to the top. “I just wanted to beat my time from last year,” says Michelle. She came in at just under 6-minutes, bettering her 2013 time of 6.5 minutes and her 10.5 minute dash in 2012.
All of SJVC’s climbers made it to the top; some taking a little longer than others. “It was pretty lonely at the top there for awhile,” laughs Michelle. “It was great to cheer everybody and give high-fives, as they came up the stairs.”
This is the fifth year this race has been held, and the fifth year SJVC Rancho Cordova has participated in fundraising to benefit the American Lung Association. Since January, the campus has conducted bake sales, dress-down days and gathered private donations that collected $2,543, including race entry fees, for this worthy cause. SJVC always strives to beat previous year’s goals. This year they handily passed 2013’s total of $2,027.
This open-to-the-public event started at 8:00 AM on Saturday and ran until noon. A dozen booths were set up to provide education to the attendees about respiratory disease, prevention and treatments. SJVC’s booth demonstrated CPR and breathing treatments, along with asthma education and awareness.
Amy Bianco, Dean of Student Services, is also a veteran of previous American Lung Association races. “It was really exciting to see the enthusiasm from the students,” she says. “Every year they try to beat the times from the year before. Some were slower than others, but everyone made it!”
This year got personal for Term 2 Respiratory Therapy students Zachary Zoeller and Samuel Cartacai. It seems they made a side bet that whichever of them came in last had to shave his head. Samuel beat Zach by a full two minutes. Zach is a lot easier to spot on campus these days.
Amy cites the many reasons why the Rancho Cordova campus is so eager to be a part of the “vertical road race”. “We climb for research that will cure lung disease, for those who can’t quit smoking, for lungs that burn from exercise, for asthma education to stop fatal attacks in children, and for laws that improve air quality,” she says.
In addition to the shared pleasure of helping Fight for Air Climb reach their fundraising goal, SJVC climbers also enjoyed their vantage point from the top of the Wells Fargo Center.
“It’s a beautiful view up there,” says Michelle. “We took a few pictures before going back. We took the stairs down, though.”