The final stats for Team Raising Rose Razor Sharp's participation in the Fight for Air climb are impressive:
But, those numbers don't tell anywhere close to the whole story. When team captain Cynde Summers reached the top of the 1,034 steps of the U.S. Bank Center in Milwaukee on March 18, she wasn't just leading a team of family, friends and Razor Sharp members and trainers -- she was carrying the memory of her late mother, "World’s Best Mom, Rose Mary O’Donnell DeMeulenaere" up the 40-odd stories with her.
This was Cynde's fifth year participating in the climb in Milwaukee and/or Indianapolis (this year, she did both!). What began as a way for Cynde and other family members to channel their grief has grown into a broader mission to help and inspire others:
My mom struggled to quit smoking most of her adult life. At age 60, she was finally able to quit for good, but contended with COPD/emphysema and her breathing daily. She learned to manage oxygen tanks and even started a support group, the Better Breathers to help others bear the burden of living with a debilitating respiratory disease. She fought a hard fight, but ultimately succumbed to lung cancer at age 73.
Cynde has been a member of Razor Sharp since 2003. She says that she particularly embraces "the variety of classes at the club because it encourages me to work harder in a group setting than I would on my own." That enjoyment of variety carries through to the sports that Cynde pursues, playing tennis year-round, cross-country skiiing in winter and playing beach volleyball in summer. At the gym, "Razor Sharp always has something new to try. I enjoy participating in events for a cause like the MS Walk at UW Parkside because my friend's daughter with MS has a team. I am not a runner but like to do at least one 5K a year."
She also wants to encourage others to challenge themselves. "Find a cause that's close to your heart and reach out to a friend to join you. I put a flyer up at Razor Sharp in January and with only 12 team members, we raised over $3,000 for the American Lung Association. I'm already excited for next year's Climb!" And she makes this offer to all of you: "If you need encouragement or help getting started, I'd be happy to support you."
Oh, and, as for how Cynde did personally? She was both the fastest and the oldest female on Team Raising Rose Razor Sharp with a time of 9:45. That finish placed her at number 268 out of 2,350 participants! Our sincerest congratulations to Cynde and the whole team. Thank you for giving Razor Sharp the opportunity to support you and the Lung Association.