Climb to Conquer Cancer

With about 160 volunteers, UES sent the largest team to complete the challenging seven-mile climb to the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort in Flagstaff on Aug. 18 to help fight cancer.

For more than a decade, UES and its employees from across Arizona have supported the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Climb to Conquer Cancer of Flagstaff  as part of their commitment to volunteerism. This is the largest annual event coordinated by the UES Flagstaff Community Action Team.

The UES team collected more than $10,000 for the American Cancer Society as the top fundraising team.

UES pays the registration fee for its climbers and makes an $8,500 charitable contribution to the ACS from its corporate resources, not customers’ rates. Funds raised from the event go toward research and programs that support those battling cancer.

For the first time, UES sponsored a superhero-themed water stop where employees gave out UES capes for children and played music. PowerCAT, Wonder Woman, Elastigirl from “The Incredibles,” and two Batmans – an adult and a child – greeted participants.

“It’s so great to hear everyone say how fun and festive our booth is,” said Heidi Poturalski, Manager of Employee and Labor Relations who coordinated the UES team and dressed up like Wonder Woman. “To have a company that sponsors us to walk up the mountain for such a great cause is really fantastic.”

Each of the climbers has his or her own personal reasons for climbing the mountain. Poturalski makes the climb in remembrance of her grandfather who passed away in 2006 from bone cancer.

“We all have someone we know who has been affected by cancer,” she said. “Cancer doesn’t discriminate. It affects the young and old, strong and weak. This is why this event is so popular.”

Some climbers carry signs that memorialize a loved one taken by cancer. Others are fighting the disease or are survivors. For those unable to complete the climb, shuttles take them to the finish line.

The event culminates with a celebration at the top. Climbers are treated to food, activities, live music and entertainment and information provided by the ASC.

“While the climb may seem daunting, it is nothing compared to the fight that cancer patients and their loved ones go through,” said Debbie Cook, ASC Senior Community Development Manager, who organizes the Flagstaff event. “This event truly brings the community together to honor survivors and remember those we lost to cancer.”