9/11. The date will live on in infamy in the history of the United States. On this day, hundreds of men and women either lost their lives, or responded bravely to the tragedy. First responders rushed to the scene where over 3,000 lives were lost.

Firefighters walked up 110 floors – 1,980 steps – to get to the top floor of the World Trade Center. To do so required a 20-pound pack for breathing and an additional 25 pounds of equipment. To honor that journey, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center has set up a fundraiser to benefit non-profits such as volunteer fire halls and engaging veterans, as well as, support the animals at Niagara County SPCA. It’s called the 1,980 Step Challenge.

“COVID has hurt non-profits, not only in Niagara County, but all over the country,” said Mike Bevill of NFMMC. “People have called in saying who they’d like to raise money for and we welcome that.”

Bevill said the goal is to help engage the community with itself. That includes helping veterans and their families fill out forms, or giving a firefighter the PPE they need, or even helping shelter animals.

“We thought of service dogs that were there on 9/11,” Bevill said. “That led to the animals at the SPCA, so we contacted them and they loved the idea and said they’d spread the word over their social media platforms.”

The concept for the fundraiser is simple. Donate an amount for each step taken and record the number.

“If you want to donate a dollar per step, and you take all 1,980 steps, that’s $1,980,” Bevill said.

The challenge is open till Wednesday, but Bevill said if it looks like people are engaging, they’ll continue the fundraiser.

To donate or sponsor a runner visit https://niagara911day.myevent.com/.

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