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Londoners help United Way Elgin Middlesex raise funds step by step

Kristin Zubrickas, Steven Van Strien, and Jeff Taylor completed the United Way's stairclimb as part of a company team on Nov. 2nd, 2017.
Kristin Zubrickas, Steven Van Strien, and Jeff Taylor completed the United Way's stairclimb as part of a company team on Nov. 2nd, 2017. Liny Lamberink/AM980

Londoners are taking their fundraising efforts to the next level for the United Way’s fall campaign, one step at a time.

The annual stair climb at One London Place is the charity’s single biggest community fundraiser of the year, where roughly 2,000 participants will tackle the building’s 472 step stairwell before the day is through.

“A few weeks beforehand, I started to run a lot on the roads to build up some endurance,” explained Steven Van Strien, who is a member of the Media Sonar company team.

“In the last two or three weeks I’ve also been on the stairclimber, and the gym, just to really motivate myself and get me going.”

READ MORE: United Way aims to ‘change the odds’ in lieu of multi-million dollar fundraising goal

Other members of the company team took a more relaxed approach towards training for the event.

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“I think the most flights of stairs I’d ever climbed up at one time before, was maybe eight,” said Jeff Taylor, the team’s captain.

But about ten minutes after climbing all 24 flights of steps inside one of London’s tallest buildings, Taylor said he was feeling pretty great.

United Way Elgin Middlesex CEO Kelly Ziegner was all ready to tackle One London Place’s 472 stairs.
United Way Elgin Middlesex CEO Kelly Ziegner was all ready to tackle One London Place’s 472 stairs. Liny Lamberink/980 CFPL

United Way Elgin Middlesex is taking a different approach to its campaign this year, choosing to focus on impact goals instead of financial goals. According to CEO Kelly Ziegner, the feedback so far has been positive.

“If you’re a donor and you give $50 a year, and you’re talking about a $10 million or an $8-million campaign, it’s really hard to understand ‘what’s my 50 bucks actually going to do?’

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“But what if I tell you, your 50 bucks is going to get an after-school tutor for a kid in need?”

READ MORE: The United Way receives $375k to tackle poverty in London

By the campaign’s end after the holiday season, they’re hoping to put money towards 16,000 counselling sessions, 8,000 after-school spaces for kids, and comprehensive funding for four neighbourhood centres.

Last year, the stair climb brought in more than $200,000. This year, the goal is pegged at $250,000, while campaign’s overall total is somewhere around the $9.4 million to $9.5 million mark.

Ziegner says they appear to be tracking on par with funds raised by this time in 2016.

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