The American Lung Association calls its annual Fight for Air stair climbs “a vertical road race.” Staged in skyscrapers and stadiums in cities across the U.S., the events attract participants who have raised pledges and contributions based not upon how many miles they walk, but rather upon how many steps they climb.
For participants in Philadelphia’s fourth annual climb on March 20, 2010, there were 1,088 steps up 50 floors of the Bell Atlantic Tower at 17th & Arch Streets. The climbers’ goals included not only making it to the top, but also raising donations and recognizing that each step brings us one step closer to a cure for lung disease.
For a small but energetic Team YPTC, entering the 2010 Fight for Air stair climb was an inspiring adventure and volunteer activity. Staff members Eric Fraint, Jim Garrison and their family members and friends truly had “the climb of their life.”
YPTC President and Founder Eric Fraint found the climb to be relatively easy, having spent many days climbing stairs with a full backpack preparing for a hike in Arizona’s Grand Canyon. “It was a lot of fun, and for a good cause, and I expect we’ll do it again next year,” he said. “I recommend this fundraiser to one and all.”
Jim Garrison found the event to be highly entertaining as well. “Oddly enough, it sounded like a fun thing to do, and it was. It provided a good excuse to get some conditioning in.” Jim quipped, however, that the race’s professional organizers should change the participants’ numbered bibs to read “trudger” instead of “runner.”
Participants also gained new respect – for their lungs, and for local fire fighters who raced up the 50 flights wearing full uniforms and equipment packs. Though Team YPTC didn’t set any records, everyone was pleased with their times.
Meanwhile, YPTC’s pledges of $1,000 out of the $120,000 raised will help battle the #3 killer in America, a disease that kills 342,000 each year and affects 38 million people for whom each breath is a challenge.