Cops Will Race to the Top of the John Hancock for Charity

Badges go down, officers go up—and they’re doing it all for the kids.

It’s a long way to the top of the John Hancock Tower—61 stories, to be precise—but 200 volunteers are willing to make the trek to the highest point of New England’s tallest building all in the name of charity and public awareness.

On March 29, at 8:30 a.m., Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley and hundreds of others will take it “step-by-step” as they ascend to the tip of the tower during the “Ginormous Climb,” a fundraiser and campaign that calls attention to the victims of child abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Thirty-five Suffolk prosecutors and 164 other brave volunteers will join Conley during the “first-of-its-kind” vertical charity run to raise money for the Children’s Advocacy Center of Suffolk County (CAC).

“This climb seemed like a great way to inspire people to do something they’ve never done before, and literally ‘step up,’” said Susan Goldfarb, executive director of the CAC, which acts as a voice for child abuse victims and connects them with necessary resources. “We believe that the kids who come to see us everyday are stepping up and talking about really hard things, so now adults can step up and support them. Child abuse is really hard to talk about. And this is a way for people to really get out there and discuss why it matters.”

Goldfarb said each year more than 1,300 children are referred to the advocacy group to talk about abuse. “Their courage is heroic and they inspire all of us,” according to the organization’s event website.

Event organizers said the climb is like taking on a 5K race, except they expect it will only last about 20 minutes in comparison. The challenge, however, is the fact that the entire thing is one long, uphill battle.

People planning on hitting the steps have been getting prepared, both mentally and physically. “Folks have been climbing stairs at work and at MBTA stations, and others have been joining the November Project. The general word that we have heard is, you don’t have to be a triathlete, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared,” said Goldfarb.

There is no cap on the amount of people that can donate and participate, and registration is still open, event organizers said. Goldfarb said the work people have put into the fundraiser so far has been encouraging. “It’s incredible. The spirit it has generate—people don’t talk about child abuse and this is a real show of that courage to start the conversation.”

Also on the roster to take part in the “ginormous” 61-story run is Boston Police Commissioner William Evans (he should be all right, considering he has participated in countless marathons over the years), and roughly 24 fellow officers and detectives. According to event details, so far teams have raised more than $33,000 of a $40,000 goal to give to the charitable organization. Participants have until next weekend to hit their goal.

In years past, Goldfarb said the CAC raised money through private events like golf tournaments, but since they took on the stair-climbing challenge they’ve reached a broader audience. “I’m hoping this will be the first climb, and next year we will grow it and do it even bigger. I think we are making new friends, and new connections with people who want to know what we are doing with these kids and want to help,” she said.

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