The American Lung Association hosts the fourth annual Fight for Air Climb in Dallas.
American Lung Association
Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas
Dallas area firefighters EVENT:
Fight for Air Climb Dallas
Renaissance Hotel Dallas
Saturday, February 18, 2012
For the past 12 years, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, formally known as The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, has been the measuring stick for how an organization puts together an event that helps raise awareness and money for its cause. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people dawn pink ribbons, hats, shirts, shorts, socks and shoes to help boost that awareness. It’s been the grassroots movement and organic growth of the event that has made the Race for the Cure series the world’s largest and most successful education and fundraising event for breast cancer.
The American Cancer Society (ACA) has an overnight event, Relay for Life, where teams gather at schools, fairgrounds or parks and take turns walking or running laps. Each team tries to keep at least one member on the track at all times. Relay for Life was started by a doctor in Tacoma, Washington, who wanted to enhance the income of his local ACA office and show support for his patients who had battled cancer. The doctor spent 24 grueling hours circling the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound.
It’s those unique, yet monumental moments and the passion of those involved that the American Lung Association (ALA) is trying to replicate with its own nationwide event called the Fight for Air Climb. The climbs usually happen in prominent skyscrapers, stadiums or arenas.
Stair climbs are emerging athletic competitions that take participants beyond the average run/walk event. These “vertical marathons” are growing in popularity, and Dallas is leading the way by hosting this one-of-a-kind event.
Sometimes called a “vertical road race,” teams and individual participants often use the events as a fitness target or practice, as a race that gives you the opportunity to challenge yourself or other people. The climbs have also served as a great way to be active and meet new friends.
“They’re the perfect event to parallel with our mission to fight for better air,” said Amanda Frederick, Plains-Gulf Region development manager for the ALA. “This is our signature event for North Texas and, really, across the country.”
The mission of the organization is to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research—and public support is helping the organization “fight for air.”
For the fourth year running, a Fight for Air Climb was held in the stairwell of the 53-story Renaissance Dallas Hotel near downtown on Saturday, February 18. More than 600 participants competed in the event, with more than 150 volunteers from across the Metroplex lending a hand. Volunteers range from employees at corporations to Girls Scout troops and everything in between.
Frederick says since the Fight for Air Climb’s inception in Dallas, the event has helped foster a great relationship with Dallas area firefighters. Each year, more and more show up for the event in full firefighter gear and march up 53 flights of stairs. This year, more than 100 showed up—and the hope is that the number will double next year.
“We are very excited to see the momentum this event has gained since our inaugural climb,” said Michelle Bernth, vice president of marketing, communications and volunteer development for the ALA.
One by one at five-second intervals, all 600 participants began their trek from the bottom floor to the 53rd floor—walk or run. All participants had their time calculated through an electronic chip-timing system. According to Frederick, the average time per person is between 10 to 15 minutes. The fastest Dallas time was in the 7-minute range, the slowest being 45 minutes. In all, the event takes just two to two-and-a-half hours to complete with an awards ceremony afterward on the top floor.
During the event, teams had the ability to start the race together and support one another during the climb, and water stations and rest floors were available periodically.
“The 53rd floor is completely vacant,” Frederick said. So after everyone finished, there was a “huge after party with massage therapists and food from My Fit Foods, Potbelly Sandwich Shop. We had FC Dallas there, painters and clowns for the kids.”
Frederick says this year’s event was a huge success, as it helped raised more than $140,000 for the ALA that goes back to the community and supports education for schools and research.
“We’re in the very early planning stages for next year, but we’re hoping to reach a goal of $200,000,” Frederick said. “We’re also looking to try and make it more fun.”
Some intriguing facts about lung disease:
- Third leading cause of death in the United States. One in seven Americans will die from lung disease.
- The single deadliest cancer—killing more women than breast and ovarian cancer combined.
- Each year, 392,000 people die from tobacco-caused disease, making it the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
- Asthma is the No. 1 chronic reason that children miss school—resulting in 14 million missed school days each year.
“Nearly everyone knows someone who has been affected by some form of lung disease,” Bernth said. “Whether you’ve been touched by asthma, emphysema, lung cancer or tobacco addiction, The Fight for Air Climb is a great, fun way to help bring us one step closer to achieving our mission.” One+
American Cancer Society,
American Lung Association,
business value of meetings,
One+ June 2012,
Susan G. Komen for the Cure