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It’s Gino’s 5-year Megathon anniversary — and he’s celebrating with over 18,000 steps!

Gino in front of the Central Y stairs

There are tons of newly popular challenges out there meant to inspire people to move more, most of them involving targets of 10,000 + daily steps. They’re perfect for people like myself, who need a little friendly competition to motivate them to step up their fitness game (see what I did there?).

YMCA Child Care staff member Gino has taken this concept to a whole new level. For the past four years, he’s been climbing the gargantuan staircase at the Central YMCA over and over again to raise money for our annual fundraiser, Megathon.

“The first year I did it, it was a hundred times up and down the stairs,” Gino tells me. “The next year it was 150, then 175. This year it’s going to be 205 times!” When I ask why he’s so dedicated to Megathon, Gino reminds me that he’s been with the Y for 30 years. “I always like to do the challenge with the kids. It’s fun when you have the kids with you, and you know you’re all raising money together for a good cause.”

Anyone who has set foot in the Central YMCA knows how impressive Gino’s stair challenge is. Theirs is probably the biggest staircase I’ve seen in my life; we always joke that you get a workout before you even make it all the way up to the conditioning room. Having personally run up and down that staircase a dozen times during a certain special event last month, I can attest that Gino will be working up a sweat during Megathon. But unlike any other regular old workout, Gino’s efforts are special: he’s part of a GTA-wide movement committed to helping everyone access the programs they need to get and stay healthy.

During Megathon season, Champions like Gino commit to completing a fitness challenge, and their friends, family, and community members lend their support to help them tackle it. The donations are used to provide kids, teens, adults, and families with financial assistance so they can access the YMCA’s health-promoting programs and amenities.

It’s in this sense that Megathon truly reflects the Sweat For Good spirit: Champions like Gino demonstrate that the sweat you break at the Y is really your show of support for charitable community building. Sweating takes strength, drive, and commitment; it’s a symbol of your achievement, and the ambition it took to get there. When you sweat it out in a Megathon challenge, you Sweat For Good: you’re throwing that strength, drive, and commitment behind all the social good the Y makes possible. And you’re helping to raise funds so more of your fellow community members can join in on that good.

To celebrate his 5-year Megathon anniversary, Gino will certainly be sweating for good: his new Megathon challenge goal adds up to a total of 18,040 steps — which is like going up AND down the CN Tower’s staircase 5 times! I think it’s safe to say he’ll hit his step target for the day. But more importantly, Gino’s hard work will play a vital role in helping us achieve our vision of being home to the healthiest kids, teens, and young adults.

Join Gino in making a difference. Visit our Megathon site to register for a fitness challenge, collect donations, or support our Champions. If you need some inspiration, Gino asked me to invite everyone to join his stair climb! “You can help me raise money for a good cause,” he said. “Participate and join in with me and the kids!” Don’t worry; he’ll appreciate your company even if you don’t match him step for step.