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Climber and Volunteer Stories

Over the past 22 years, more than 86,000 climbers and 4,700 volunteers have supported WWF-Canada's annual fundraising event to help us conserve wildlife and habitat across Canada. With their support and commitment, we unite to achieve a common goal - to build a future in harmony with nature. These are just a few of their stories...

A proposal at the top of the CN Tower: She said yes!

© Ken Mak/WWF-Canada

When Rabeah Karram’s now-fiancé, Tina Crupi, registered for the 2011 Canada Life CN Tower Climb, he had an inspired idea: why not propose to her when she reached the top?

And that’s just what he did!

Working closely with the WWF team, Rabeah made his plans. Once Tina started up the tower, Rabeah went up to the glass floor and set up by the stairwell exit. The wait for Tina to arrive was an anxious one, with everyone keeping an eagle-eye on the exit to make sure we didn’t miss her. Rabeah was kept busy by interviews with CTV, Global and Citytv, and kept calm by the Panda, who rubbed his shoulders to ease the stress.

When Tina did emerge and Rabeah got down on one knee, the crowd went wild. Everyone – including the three TV crews – was taking pictures and filming immediately. After a moment of shock and catching her breath, Tina said yes and was congratulated with a big cheer from everyone on the glass floor.

It was a thrilling moment among many at last year’s climb. We were so glad to be a part of this special moment for Rabeah and Tina – and we hope to see them back this year as husband and wife!

Sports stars tackle the stairs for WWF’s CN Tower climb

Toronto Argos Adriano Belli and Joe Eppele, hockey great Scott Niedermayer, and WWF-Canada CEO Gerald Butts © Merle Robillard/WWF-Canada

Last year, WWF was joined by some very athletic participants at the CN Tower Climb, including three-time Stanley Cup winner, and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Scott Niedermayer (who is also WWF’s Freshwater Ambassador).

Naturally, having an NHL great at the Tower garnered a lot of attention from not just media but also WWF staff, excited fans and volunteers.

When asked if he felt prepared to climb, Scott kept things low key. “Oh I don’t really need to prepare, I’ll just find a place to put my jacket and start climbing.” And that’s exactly what he did climbing the Tower in a staggering fifteen minutes, without breaking a sweat!

Another attention-grabbing climber was Toronto Argonaut, Joe Eppele. Some of you may have seen the article about him wearing a Sasquatch suit to promote the climb in The Toronto Star last spring. Standing at 6’7 and weighing 310 pounds, wearing a Big Foot suit wasn’t much of a stretch for this mountain of a man.

Toronto Argos Adriano Belli and Joe Eppele, hockey great Scott Niedermayer, and WWF-Canada CEO Gerald Butts © Merle Robillard/WWF-Canada

Shelley Ann Morris

© Shelley Ann Morris

Shelley Ann Morris was dared by her sister to climb the CN Tower. Little did Morris know that what began as a sisterly dare would become an annual tradition. Since 2005 she has climbed the CN Tower four times for WWF-Canada’s annual fundraiser, the Canada Life CN Tower Climb.

Raised by a father who taught his daughters that both sides of a sheet of paper should be used when writing and drawing, environmental awareness was always a priority for Morris. “We were shopping in second hand or ‘thrift’ stores long before it was trendy to do so.”

Shelley has a passion for wildlife and conservation of our natural world which inspires her year after year to climb the CN Tower in support of WWF-Canada.

Although visually impaired, this has not stopped Shelley from achieving her goals. In fact, she comes from a family of athletes, and this shines through in her intense training for the Climb every year. She follows a cross-training regime involving some cardio, weights, spinning, yoga and stretching and some practice on an actual stairwell. “There’s this huge adrenalin rush that happens when you hear your time card being stamped at the foot of the staircase and you know you are on the clock and every second counts.”

Her goal this year is to make it up 1,776 steps in less than 20 minutes.

Malcolm and Jennifer Ryan

© Malcolm Ryan

Eleven-year-old Malcolm Ryan and his mother Jennifer have been volunteering at WWF for three years. Between donating their time to help promote Earth Hour and the CN Tower climb, it’s pretty amazing that they’ve also managed to actually climb the CN Tower every year and in doing so, have raised over $2,000. Last year, Malcolm surpassed his fundraising goal by 50 percent! His mom and all of us at WWF are very proud.

Malcolm’s love for the planet comes directly from his mother. Jennifer grew up in BC, and explains that raising a son in an urban environment while trying to instill a love of nature in him has its challenges, and she was very grateful for the presence of WWF in his life to help him learn about the environment and how to protect it.

When asked how he deals with the challenge of teaching others to protect the environment, Malcolm had this to say, “I tell people, you may not live in a place where you can see animals all the time but they are actually all around us. And they were here before us. Our cars and planes are causing pollution that puts them at risk. I volunteer to promote awareness; others can decide what to do from there.” Well put for an eleven year-old!

When asked why they climb the CN Tower and spend time volunteering, Jennifer says, “When you volunteer, you really are the one who benefits the most. I’m left with a wonderful feeling in my heart and I know that I’ve made a difference in the world.”

Malcolm adds to this and says happily, “I love promoting something I care about with people who have the same drive and passions as I do. I get to share this awareness with people who will then tell their children, and their children’s children and that really makes me feel good.”

WWF would like to say a very special thank you to Malcolm, Jennifer and every volunteer who makes the CN Tower climb such a huge success. We couldn’t do it without you – and we look forward to seeing you all again on April 19 and 21!

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