From Left to Right: The Jimmy Funds Katy Barrett and MetroRock's Bill Schifone and Pat Enright.
On Saturday, April 25th, 2009, MetroRock’s towering walls teemed with climbers of all abilities crimping and pinching their way to the finish of 17 routes in a day. Any particular reason? While climbing is generally regarded as a selfish endeavor due to the fact that it usually benefits the mere individual pursuing it, MetroRock turned the tables by giving local climbers a chance to push themselves for a greater cause. Noted as the first of its kind in the indoor climbing industry, one of the largest climbing gyms on the east coast shut down for the day to sponsor a fundraiser for the Jimmy Fund and Dana Farber in their fight against childhood cancer. The event drew over 70 plastic-pulling junkies ready to attack some taped monstrosities while pledging a donation to the Jimmy Fund; not to mention devouring as much pepperoni pizza and chocolate chip cookies as they could handle in a few hours. “The event allowed climbers a chance to make a difference by raising the level of childhood cancer awareness through climbing,” said Pat Enright, co-owner of MetroRock. “Hopefully, this kind of community effort will turn into an annual event and climbers will have the opportunity to contribute to this kind of fundraiser on a local level in the future.”Those who participated at the event made a pledge and climbed--or tried--17 routes for the day, a rough equivalent to sending 600 vertical feet on the Whitney Gilman Ridge of Cannon Cliff. Ticking 600-feet throughout just one full-day session was no small task for the average bloke, but climbers from all around the metropolitan-area rounded up to get their pump on and support their community. “It was amazing to see how many climbers showed up despite the fact that it was one of the nicest days of the week,” said Brian Rafferty, a local climber and MetroRock employee. “You could tell just by the expressions on their faces that they were happy to be involved.” Since its founding in 1948, the Jimmy Fund has supported the fight against cancer in children and adults at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, helping to raise the chances of survival for cancer patients from around the world. MetroRock, the prime supporter and contributer to the Jimmy Fund for the event, was able to leverage some of their industrial success and growth by reaching out to the very climbers and local businesses responsible for it. When MetroRock heard that Sprouts of Hope, a local kids-focused fund, runs a bake sale every year to raise money for the support of local and international causes, they invited the organization to hold it during the climbing event. “Some of the kids in the Sprouts group actually decided to climb and raise money for the Jimmy Fund by using the money they made on the bake sale,” said Rafferty. “That was really impressive–and thier dumplings, those were good too.” Once the lactic acid had dissipated, blaring beats had subsided, and clouds of chalk had settled, close to $12,000 had been raised for the Jimmy Fund, a figure double that of the initial $6,000 goal. The amount of pizza eaten and laughs shared by those invested in the event is yet to be known.
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