In a remarkable demonstration of both physical strength and indomitable spirit, 99-year-old Hamilton resident Walter Decker, embarked on an ambitious ascent, climbing 1,776 steps to conquer the CN Tower. Remarkably, it marked his third such feat, all in pursuit of charitable causes.
Accompanied by his son, grandson, two great-grandsons, Decker joined the United Way ClimbUP on Saturday, rallying to raise over $3,000. His efforts aimed at assuaging the struggles of those grappling with fundamental socio-economic needs, ranging from housing and food requirements to mental health resources.
Decker, who celebrated his 99th birthday last week, began his unique grief management strategy upwards of a decade ago, taking to stair-climbing as a coping mechanism when his wife passed away leaving him feeling utterly ‘lost’. The activity brought him solace, presenting an avenue to channel his bereavement and move forward.
Over time, Decker has made stair-climbing a regular habit, scaling the steps of the Hamilton Escarpment thrice weekly, managing between 700 to 1,200 steps. Commencing his day with a rigorous regimen of 30-50 pushups, he chuckled as he shared that his daily routine holds nothing special for the remarkable feat.
Nor age nor physical toll, even at 99, has dampened Decker’s spirited determination. Careful pacing and periodic breathers made up the methodology during his recent climb, successfully reaching the top in 70 minutes and 20 seconds. Without a hint of exhaustion, he light-heartedly insisted it would’ve been less than an hour had media interactions not caused delays.
As for future plans, Decker concedes that he’ll miss next year’s ClimbUP campaign, due to his granddaughter’s wedding in San Francisco. However, he assures continuing his escarpment climbs in between. Beyond that? Decker simply chuckles, saying he’s “not looking too far ahead yet”.
Yet, in his adventurous journey, Decker does leave one heartfelt message behind for those looking for inspiration or intent on embarking on their own fitness path: “Don’t put off anything until tomorrow that you should be doing today”.