Fight for Air Climb moving outdoors, online

Stock photo.

The American Lung Association in Western New York will host its annual Fight For Air Climb Rochester outside at Highmark Stadium, 1 Bill Drive, Orchard Park, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 22. 

The event will be combined with the Fight for Air Climb Buffalo, and operate as a hybrid with outdoor and virtual options. In-person participants will need to spatial distance, complete a basic entryway health screen, use sanitation protocols and wear face masks on-site.

“The Fight for Air Climb is a treasured community event in Rochester, and we are excited to see it evolve and expand this year by moving it both online and outside to Highmark Stadium — an exciting and inspiring venue for the western New York region,” said Kaelyn Gates, development director. “Our mission to improve lung health and air quality through education, research and advocacy has never been more important than it is today, and we are simply willing to do whatever it takes to advance that mission and improve people’s lives while keeping our community safe and healthy during this challenging time.”

The Climb will support research, advocacy and education for lung diseases, lung cancer and COVID-19 with a fundraising goal of $120,000.

ALA is introducing the Climb21 Challenge, empowering participants to “Climb Your Way” for the 21 days leading up to the in-person event. This challenge utilizes the Fight for Air Climb app and invites climbers to virtually ascend famous landmarks across the globe, like the Eiffel Tower, Grand Canyon and Burj Khalifa leading up to the in-person event on May 22. 

“We’re excited to climb the stairs at Highmark, and we are even more excited to face off against our Buffalo area counterparts during the firefighter challenge this year,” said Chief Stephen MacAdam, lieutenant and senior safety officer for Brighton Fire Department, and committee chair for the Rochester Fight for Air Climb. 

The event annually includes a firefighter challenge, where firefighters race up the stairs in full gear weighing 50 pounds or more. It often inspires internal and interdepartmental competitions for speed and fundraising in an effort to drive awareness about the lung health challenges many firefighters and first responders face due to long-term exposure to smoke and air pollutants. 

“We are always honored to participate in this event, and highlight the hardship that our fellow brothers and sister firefighters face when it comes to lung disease and lung cancer,” MacAdam said. “This year, doing it at Highmark during a pandemic caused by a respiratory illness simply makes it meaningful on so many more levels.”

Money raised through the Fight for Air Climb Rochester will fund ALA’s efforts to end lung cancer and lung disease, as well as support its COVID-19 Action Initiative. The COVID-19 Action Initiative is a $25 million investment to address COVID-19 and protect against future respiratory virus pandemics. The initiative works with public and private entities to increase research collaboration and develop new vaccines, detection tests and treatment therapies.

Registration is $35. Visit for information.