Aon Center in downtown Los Angeles - Getty team to climb 63 flights of stairs to benefit the American Lung Association

See that building on the right, behind the downtown Cenral Library? We’re climbing it. (Photo: Flickr user LifeSupercharger / CC BY 2.0)

Update—We’re gearing up for the 2013 Fight for Air Climb, scheduled for April 6. More info and how to join us here.

The Getty has an active Community Service Team of staff and volunteers who do wonderful things for our city: holiday food and toy drives, 5K and 10K walks and runs for charity, blood drives, clean-ups in local parks and wilderness areas, and more. This coming March 31 we’ll scale new heights as we climb 63 flights of stairs as part of the American Lung Association’s annual Fight for Air Climb.

I participated in my first stair climb in 2001 in the U.S. Bank Tower, the tallest building in the western U.S. at 75 floors and 1,500 stairs. I admit that I spent the entire climb wondering, “Why, oh why, did I sign up for this?” But when I reached the top and realized what I had done, words cannot describe the elation. I was hooked on stair-climbing from then on.

The first Getty stair-climb took shape in 2010, when a colleague asked me if I could form a team. I’m program manager at the Getty Fitness Center, our small employee gym humorously known as “Spa Getty,” and she’d heard about my exploits as a towerrunner. I’m also a former smoker who quit with the help of the Lung Association over 20 years ago.

I didn’t have much confidence about recruiting a group of coworkers to scale 63 flights of stairs on a Saturday morning, but much to my delight I was able to gather a team of nine Getty staff and their friends. And everyone made it to the top!

2011 Getty Community Service team at the American Lung Assocation's Fight for Air Climb

…and we all made it to the top! Catching our breath after last year’s climb to the roof of the Aon Center in downtown L.A.

Last year we made the climb an annual event and secured matching funding from the J. Paul Getty Trust, and this year we’re getting ready again with a team of eleven (and counting). My goal is to gain more members and increase the funds we donate to charity, as well as spread my passion for stair-climbing.

The 2012 Fight for Air Climb will take place the AON Center in downtown L.A. on March 31. If you’d like to participate, you can find a team in your area here.

Besides helping a good cause, the most gratifying thing about leading a team for Getty Community Service is seeing members gain confidence and get excited about reaching for something that seems impossible. And once they do accomplish it, it makes them feel like they can do anything—even climbing tall buildings in a few hundred bounds!