Fight for Air Climb brings record participants

This years Fight for Air Climb, held at the Carew Tower in downtown Cincinnati, brought in an estimated 650 participants who were ready to challenge the 45-story staircase to help fund and raise awareness for lung disease and smoking education.

This unique event, held by the American Lung Association, marks the seventh Fight for Air Climb in Cincinnati, which is held annually on the second to the last weekend in February. With each passing year, the momentum and popularity of the event has increased, making this year’s the most participated yet.
“This year 650 registered, and that’s not including walk-ins or no-shows,” said Jodi Dunavan, NKU senior and intern for the American Lung Association. “There were 500 last year, so it’s getting bigger every time.”

Participants can either compete as an individual or within a team; however, there is a registration fee based on when participants register and which events they do ($25, $35 or $75) and to compete you must fund-raise a minimum of $100 dollars.

“So everyone climbing is bringing in a minimum of $135!” Dunavan said.

Not only is participation in the climb increasing, but also the number of volunteers who lend a helping hand to make the event possible. Several schools are represented, but the majority of student volunteers come from NKU and the University of Cincinnati.

“I just came across it [the Fight for Air Climb] and saw the cause, and I wanted to do it,” said UC student and 2012 volunteer Li Yaun. “And I get credit hours for the volunteer work.”
Within the Fight for Air Climb, there are three different races one can participate in: the general climb, the vertical mile and the firefighter challenge. The general climb is the most popular, where the participants climb the staircase from the first to the 45 floor. The vertical mile, a more strenuous climb, is defined by Dunavan as climbing up and down the 45 stories ten times, plus another eight floors and finally finishing with six more steps.

The final challenge is reserved only for firefighters, where they climb the 45 stories with all of their equipment. “That’s 75 pounds of equipment!” Dunavan added.

While the event proceeded through the day, the Carew Tower lobby continued to burst with enthusiastic participants and volunteers while local radio station 94.9 played music and announced any updates in the event. Different reactions can be seen when competitors are finished with their climb. Some rejoice in their victory, while others look relieved that it’s all past them.
“I am not going to be able to walk tomorrow!” said Jessica Scalia, a participant who completed the general climb. “My calves are burning! But at least they are burning for a good cause.”

Many walks of life united this past Sunday to help raise funding and awareness for all types of lung disease including COPD, asthma and smoking education. Whether it be to help memorialize a loved one, or to simply participate in an event with a good cause, this years Fight for Air Climb proved to be successful thanks to the estimated 650 individuals who contributed this year.