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Mountain event and party to benefit American Lung Association

Gia Goodrich didn’t quite know what she was getting herself into, but she’s going to climb to the summit of Mount Hood anyway. In fact, she’s also throwing a dance party and inviting everyone.by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Gia Goodrich is training to climb Mount Hood as part of a fund-raising event for the American Lung Association. Shes also throwing a dance party to raise even more money.

Goodrich, a creative strategist at OMSI, is doing both these things to raise money for the American Lung Association. She and nine others will climb the mountain as part of the 15th annual Climb for Clean Air. Goodrich says her involvement in the event stems from a family experience with smoking.

“It’s because of my grandmother, Grandma Dutchess,” she said. “The name says it all. All my memories are of her with a cigarette dangling from her mouth.”

When Goodrich was 16, she learned that Grandma Dutchess was diagnosed with lung cancer.

“That was ultimately really transformative and impactful,” said Goodrich, who also smoked as a teenager. “But in retrospect it seems so silly. I think when I was 19, what I watched her go through was so divorced from my lifestyle.”

Goodrich said it wasn’t until Grandma Dutchess was gone that she began to become aware of the realities of smoking.

“I just became aware of how much it impacts everyone around you,” she said. “It permeates the air and everyone’s experience. I think there is a social responsibility that one has to care for those around you. And when you smoke, it doesn’t help those around you.”

Given her position on the subject, it was logical for Goodrich to commit to the Climb for Clean Air. Since January, she and six other team members have been training for the Mount Hood summit at King’s Mountain, Hamilton Mountain and Indian Point. Because her mountaineering experience beforehand amounted to some light bouldering (a style of rock climbing), Goodrich was surprised by the training.

“It was funny, because at first I thought it would be a lot of climbing, but it’s mostly like a Stairmaster,” she said, “and then some technical climbing at the end. But the trainers have been amazing.”

Another motivator for Goodrich, she said, is the elemental challenge of the task itself.

“I’m a perfectionist,” she said, “and I’m working on doing things in my life where there’s a good chance that I won’t be good at them.”

What she is good at, through her profession, is creative concepts and promotion. These she applied to take the fundraising efforts to another level.

“With the climb, we are responsible for raising $3,500 each,” she said. “And I had raised $1,000 and I really got to a point where I just didn’t want to ask anymore. I really wanted to create a value-added activity.”

What she created was the first Top of The World Party.

“It’s a Himalayan-themed dance party,” she said. So far, she’s signed up eight local businesses to sponsor the event, and has the backing of a major media outlet as well.

“We’re super lucky, because Clear Channel is a partner with us,” she said.

The party, to be held at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at Lola’s Room in downtown Portland, is an opportunity for non-climbers to participate in the fund-raiser as well. All are invited, and the evening promises Sherpas. That’s right, the stout, hardy pack guides who escort expeditions up Mount Everest. In the copy on the web page for the party, Goodrich bills the event as including Sherpas:

“This is where you come in,” the website says. “We’re throwing a party to raise money for our climb and our cause. We’ve been sweating it out for months, and now it’s time to sweat it out on the dance floor. Let’s break it down real quick. Lola’s Room. May 9th. 8PM. Raffle. Prizes. Drinks. Music. Dancing. Sherpas.”

Actual Sherpas or not, the party promises to be a good time, with the money raised going to a good cause.