Natalya and Liam Chorneychuk fundraising at Ashcroft Safety Mart before taking part in the BC Lung Association’s Climb the Wall event in February 2020. (Photo credit: BC Lung Association)

Young Ashcroft residents conquer Lung Association Wall Climb

Liam and Natalya Chorneychuk came, climbed, and conquered in support of their Bopa

Ashcroft’s Liam and Natalya Chorneychuk came, climbed, and conquered in support of their Bopa – and the 1 in 5.

More than 500 participants – among them more than 300 B.C. firefighters (the biggest firefighter turnout ever) – showed up on the morning of Sunday, Feb. 23 to tackle the BC Lung Association’s 19th annual Climb the Wall event.

Organizers welcomed double last year’s count of firefighters to the 48-storey climb to the top of the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel. Each firefighter competed for the fastest climb time while wearing full firefighting protective gear and carrying more than 50 pounds on their back.

They were joined by some 200 non-firefighter climbers, as well as cheerleaders, fundraisers, and volunteers – many themselves members of the 1 in 5 who contend with breathing problems on a daily basis – who got involved in the fundraising efforts.

Included in the line-up was Team Bopa, compromised of Liam (11) and Natalya (9) Chorneychuk of Ashcroft. The brother and sister duo participated in honour of their Bopa (Grandpa) who passed away from lung cancer a few years ago. Liam is also a member of the 1 in 5, living with asthma.

“I was scared when Bopa was sick. It made me sad that it hurt him to breathe,” says Liam. “He would be so proud of us climbing.”

Not only did Team Bopa climb all 48 storeys twice, they also arrived early to volunteer as spokespeople for the cause, sharing their story with TV reporters at the event.

“Living with asthma is okay because I take my medicine every day and I listen to my doctor,” says Liam. “I try my best to breathe well, but sometimes it is hard for me. I like to exercise and play sports, but I need to always take my medicine because it helps me.”

According to their mom, Carolyn, both Liam and Natalya trained hard in the run-up to the event.

“There aren’t many buildings with stairs in our community, so the kids ran the stairs 25 times up and down in my office building.

“There’s a park by our home, too, where they ran up (and down) the hill 25 times without stopping! My husband Wayne estimates each time they ran to the top was equivalent to two flights of stairs.”

In terms of fundraising in support of the cause, Liam and Natalya shared their story through posters, social media, and a table at Safety Mart. Thanks to all the support they received from family, friends, and Ashcroft community members, Team Bopa racked up an impressive fundraising contribution totalling more $2,130.

The total funds raised at the 2020 event currently sit at $127,000, 50 percent higher than what was achieved in 2019. Additional funds are expected to come in over the next couple of weeks.

“This was a standout year for our Climb the Wall event, in large part thanks to the enthusiasm of our key event partners, chief amongst them B.C.’s firefighting community,” says BC Lung Association CEO Chris Lam. “The sense of community spirit in the room was palpable. I could see hundreds of sweaty, smiling faces around me, all there supporting one another. It was clear that something special was achieved.”

More than 500 people took part in this year’s climb. The fastest firefighter climb time was turned in by Burnaby firefighter Craig Smith, who scaled the 48 flights in 6:05 (the average non-competitive climber time was between 10 and 15 minutes).

The oldest non-competitive climber was 83, and the youngest was three.

Additional event partners include the Vancouver Firefighters’ Charitable Society (official Firefighter Challenge host) and the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel (venue and brunch provider).

To make a donation in support of Liam and Natalya, visit www., click donate, and search for them by name, or by team name: Team Bopa.

Over the past 20 years, participants have raised more than $2,000,000 for the cause, which benefits the 1 in 5 British Columbians affected by a lung or breathing condition, including asthma, COPD, sleep apnea, lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and pneumonia.

While treatment exists to control or slow the progress of these and many other lung conditions, few today are curable. Continued research, improved patient support, greater public health education and prevention efforts, and issues advocacy are vital to improving the lives of British Columbians with breathing problems.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC Health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Liam and Natalya Chorneychuk getting ready to take part in the BC Lung Association’s Climb the Wall event in February. (Photo credit: BC Lung Association)

Just Posted

CN suspending service between Williams Lake and Squamish, effective April 3

Rail traffic north of Williams Lake will be routed to Vancouver through Prince George and Kamloops

COVID-19: Interior Health orders closure of all fitness centres until May 30

The order is subject to revision, cancellation, or extension

Cache Creek council makes decision to close pool for 2020 season

Effects of COVID-19 pandemic and delinquent taxes two factors in decision

Q&A: Interior Health CEO answers questions on COVID-19 response

Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health, answers questions regarding COVID-19

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

General exposure to public low after inmate tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The Okanagan Correctional Centre inmate is receiving appropriate care

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Don’t stop going to the doctor, just do it virtually: B.C. association

Doctors encourage patients to access telephone, online visits

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

Most Read