The American Lung Association will host its sixth annual Fight for Air Climb at 9 a.m. on Oct. 21 at The Metropolitan, 1 S. Clinton Ave., Rochester.
The Metropolitan is a taller building than past participants are used to, and it will require climbers to travel an additional six floors for a total of 534 stairs.
Approximately 280 people, including dozens of local firefighters, are expected to participate in the event. Climbers, including lung cancer and lung disease survivors, families, advocates, health professionals and athletes, are expected to raise over $60,000 for lung disease research, advocacy and education.
The event includes a Firefighter Challenge, which invites local firefighters and first responders to take on the Fight For Air by running up the 534 steps in their firefighting gear, wearing as much as 50 pounds. These teams often make up the most notable fundraisers; in 2016, the Brighton Fire Hornets team raised $3,000, and the Bomberos from City of Rochester Fire Department raised $2,700.
“For too many people, the ‘fight for air’ is an accurate depiction of their daily struggle to breathe,” said Jeff Seyler, executive vice president of ALA’s northeast region. “The brave firefighters who routinely turn out to support this event know all too well the importance of lung health, and rely on strong, healthy lungs to do their jobs and save lives every day. This event helps us spread awareness about lung health here in Rochester and throughout the country to help ensure that families suffering with lung disease have the resources and help they need when they need it most.”
The event, which has drawn climbers from as far away as Canada and Florida, is part of a series of Fight For Air climbs that take place around the country throughout the year, raising funds for ALA. Taking place in skyscrapers, stadiums or arenas, these events are sometimes called a vertical road race, and are ALA’s most unique fundraisers. Climb teams and individual participants can use the event as a fitness target, race or a way to be active and meet friends.
“Rochester Fire Department firefighters climb, because this is a fun and competitive way to bring awareness to issues that are very real to firefighters,” said Amy Ruffo, captain of the Bomberos. “Toxins we are potentially exposed to at work put us at a higher risk for pulmonary diseases. Climbing in this event is a challenging way for us to promote good health through physical training as while give back to an organization that does important research about diseases affecting firefighters.”
The Bomberos won the Largest Fire Team Award and Fastest Fire Team Award in 2016.
Participants are asked to raise a minimum of $100 each. The Fight For Air Climb will be followed by a party and awards ceremony at Monroe’s at One, 1 Bausch & Lomb Place, Rochester, where those with the fastest times will be recognized.
Visit bit.ly/2hz5OiZ for information and to register.