Climbing team hopes to raise $80,000 for charities
Dublin resident Mike Roderick has created Embrace the First Step, an organization that will use athletic events to raise money for nonprofit groups. Roderick and seven other central Ohio residents are training to climb Mount Rainier next July for the first fundraiser. The team includes (from left, first row) Jason Apt, Columbus; Roderick; Rylan Coddington, Columbus; (second row) Blair Bauman, Louisville; Jeannie Mok, Westerville; Chris Goodrich, Columbus; (third row) Devin Howard, Dublin and Steve Doherty, New Albany. Buy This Photo
Mike Roderick has put together a new kind of fundraiser, one that will take participants to 14,000 feet.
The Dublin resident has started a nonprofit, Embrace the First Step, with the goal of using athletic events to raise money for charities such as the Wounded Warrior Project and the Stefanie Spielman Fund.
A team of eight people has been assembled to climb Mount Rainier in Washington and raise $80,000 for eight local charities.
"People are risking their lives to raise money for charity," Roderick said of the climb that he has attempted before.
"This is about people coming together for a great common cause."
The team is selling "Take it to the Top" T-shirts and accepting donations until members take on Mt. Rainier in July.
The group is working to give $10,000 each to A Kid Again, Ronald McDonald House Charities, the Arthritis Foundation, LifeCare Alliance, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research, Flying Horse Farms and the Wounded Warrior Project.
"This is also about health and wellness," Roderick said.
"We can get people to rededicate themselves and be healthy and do this."
The team includes Roderick, Dublin police officer Devin Howard, Steve Doherty of New Albany, Blair Bauman of Louisville, Ohio, Jeannie Mok of Westerville, and Columbus residents Chris Goodrich, Jason Apt and Rylan Coddington.
Mok, who has previously volunteered for the Buddy Up Program, said it was the charities that got her involved.
"I saw all of them and they have touched on my life in the past," she said.
"These are top institutions or foundations I'd like to donate to, but you can only donate so much time and love to all these organizations," she said.
"This is like spreading the love eight different ways."
Wok plays tennis through the Buddy Up Program, but climbing Mount Rainier will be a whole new experience.
"I've never climbed Mount Rainier before," Wok said. "I've done no endurance climbing like that."
Howard is a rock climber, but, like Wok, has done nothing as enterprising as Mount Rainier before.
"I'm a rock climber," Howard said. "That's one of my passions.
"I have always enjoyed rock climbing, backpacking (and) outdoor things.
"I'm a member of the search and rescue team for the state and through that, I've gained experience in all sorts of things, such as wilderness survival and wilderness first-aid," Howard said.
"Mount Rainier has been on my list of things I've wanted to do," he said.
"I wanted to climb it for a couple of years when I got hired by Dublin.
"Someone got me in contact with Mike and said he was interested in putting together a charity climb," Howard said.
A Dublin police officer since June, Howard said the July 2014 high-altitude climb will have him training hard with long-distance running, stair work and some backpacking this winter.
"This will definitely be the highest I've ever been on foot," he said. "It'll be fun and a big challenge.
"It's something I need to train harder for than anything else I've ever done."
For more information about the climb, team or Embrace the First Step, look online at embracethefirststep.org.