Some TV viewers skip through or tune out commercials, but something about an advertisement on WGN TV really hit home for Rachel Marti, a Recruiter at Pinstripe. It was for the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago's 2014 Fight for Air Climb at Presidential Towers.
"I climbed for my dad, Eric Urban, who passed away from stage 4 lung cancer on May 29, 2012 at the age of 53. He was a 38 year smoker and his father (Walter Urban) before him had died at 58 from smoking-related cancer," said Marti.
Being that it was her first event with the Lung Association, she started recruiting and fundraising almost immediately with plenty of success.
"Recruiting a team was pretty easy! I recruited my best friend, Kristy Wojnicki. She loved my dad. Soon my brother, Dane Urban, and sister, Kelsey Urban joined. From there, we recruited our cousins, Kelly Liebendorfer and Erin Carter, our Aunt Diane Klotnia, another friend, Mike McClain, and my sister's boyfriend, Chris Blankenberger. Everyone was enthusiastic about climbing together. It was a fun idea and we knew we would make it a fun day," she said.
Team "Don't Hav-a-Tampa" utilized every fundraising avenue in front of them, including social networks like Facebook and Instagram, talking to coworkers and friends.
"Since my dad passed away so young, I think it hit a lot of people hard. Everyone was extremely generous and really think the Lung Association is a great cause to whom to donate their hard-earned money towards," said Marti.
The team name came from her dad's cigar of choice, Hav-a-Tampa. They felt that adding the "don't" before the name made a lot of sense and had a nice ring to it.
"We had such a wonderful and emotional day. We all felt such an accomplishment and pride in being one of the top fundraising teams. We're truly impressed with the amount of support we received from our family and friends. We all miss him so much and hope that the funds we raised can go towards preventing the pain that we experienced for other families," she said.
The entire team had such a great experience that they confirmed they're sure to be back next year to climb more than one of the four towers, too.