Coquitlam captain climbs the Wall

Petruzzelli and Team JC raise money for BC Lung Association to honour friend who died.

Coquitlam’s Marina Petruzzelli is Team JC’s superstar in exercising her lungs to support of British Columbians suffering from lung conditions.

In this case, JC refers to her friend Jeremy Chen. She’s the superstar because on Feb. 24, for the ninth time, she’ll lead Team JC at the BC Lung Association’s 18th annual Climb the Wall fundraising event, a stair climb at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre.

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“My friend, Siobhan and I created Team JC in 2011, the year we lost our friend Jeremy Chen (JC) to lung cancer,” said Petruzzelli in a BC Lung Association press release. “We climb every year in his memory, and in tribute to others affected by lung disease. It’s great to see so many people coming together for a common goal.”

Although smoking is the top cause of lung-related cancers, Chen was a non-smoker like 15% of patients with lung cancer.

“So much stigma remains attached to lung cancer and smoking. We are trying to raise awareness to the fact that non-smokers are susceptible to this disease. Jeremy was young. He was diagnosed in December 2010 with advanced lung cancer and we lost him in March 2011” said Petruzzelli, who has organized a Team JC Bowl-A-Rama fundraising event at The Zone in Coquitlam for Sunday (Jan. 27, from 3 to 4:30 p.m.).

Association CEO Chris Lam said in the release Team JC has raised more than $110,000 to support research, education and advocacy programs across the province.

“They’re consistently amongst our top fundraisers,” Lam said. “We’re extraordinarily grateful for their continuing support and dedication to the cause.”

Climbers at last year’s event ranged from 7 to 80 years old. There’s a $25 registration fee for participants who also must commit to raising a minimum of $125 in donations.

“People of all fitness levels, and all ages take part in Climb the Wall,” added Lam. “Some climb solo, others as a family or team,” said Lam.

Petruzzelli said Chen’s former employer, Global Container Terminals, matched every dollar Team JC raised the first year and have consistently donated to the campaign since.

“To raise money for the cause we’ve done all sorts of things – held an ’80s dance party, pub nights, raffles, 50/50 draws, even sold cupcakes!,” said Petruzzelli.

The association said In 2017, 28,600 Canadians were diagnosed with lung cancer, and 21,100 died from it, which is more fatalities than colon, breast and prostate cancer combined.

Donations to support Petruzzelli and Team JC can be made online at stairclimb.ca. More information and registration is available by calling 604-731-5864 (LUNG) or email stairclimb@bc.lung.ca.

ggranger@tricitynews.com

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