LONDON, Ont. - It towers over downtown London. But on this day One London Place was no match for the heart and determination of an army of brave souls, including LHSC employee and United Way volunteer Christy Cornell.

She was among the early groups to make the climb.

“On 423 I was like, ‘Just two more flights. You can do this Christy.’ Honestly, just empowered. I was pretty proud of myself.”

Cornell raised $1,200 in pledges on her own.

This year about 2,000 people, made up of several dozen teams, took part. The goal is to raise $250,000 for local programs.

United Way Elgin Middlesex President and CEO Kelly Ziegner says with London ranked third in the country for child poverty the need couldn’t be greater.

“The money raised today is so important because it helps to address those unignorable issues in our community like poverty,” she says.

“So we fund over 90 programs and services around the region. So that means one in five people in our community who access those programs and services will have it when they need it most.”

Also taking part was a group from the Ministry of Transportation on Exeter Road.

Team leader Chris Dixon says it’s all about the chance to help out.

“It was awful climbing up there. But the fact that we raised the money for United Way made it feel very proud.”

With 472 steps to the top, One London Place, at Queens and Wellington, is London’s tallest building.