ST. CLOUD, Fla. – A Central Florida first responder is featured in a national calendar after taking part in the first virtual climb for the American Lung Association.
Alicia Weaver has been a loyal participant of Orlando’s Fight for Air Climb for many years but in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic caused a change of plans.
“COVID made it really strange this year so they gave us a window where they said ’Try to participate in your virtual climb during this window,’” Weaver said.
Her strategy this year was to complete the same 25-flight climb dressed in about 70 pounds of full bunker gear from the St. Cloud Fire Rescue training tower. She captured the climb on time-lapse video using her phone.
“And the Bank of America is air conditioned and the training tower was outdoors, and so it was pretty hot,” Weaver said.
Weaver said though the climb was tough, it was good practice for situations firefighters may face on the job.
“All that preparation is good for training for our daily job, being fit for duty,” she said.
Weaver said her two of her grandparents have lung issues, but the event held by the American Lung Association also holds special significance for her as a first responder. She talked about the risks associated with firefighting and lung cancer.
“I feel appreciated when I go out there, and I feel valued, so it’s a good cause to support and it’s a good, fun event,” Weaver said.
To combat the coronavirus, The American Lung Association launched an action initiative pledging $25 million to end COVID-19 and defend against future respiratory pandemics. This is also the first year for the association’s national calendar, which features an action shot of Weaver.
“Every calendar that is sold -- even though it may seem small -- is actually going to help fund really amazing research,” Janelle Hom, the executive director of the American Lung Association in Central Florida, said.
Weaver said she had no idea she was even nominated to be in the calendar, but it was a flattering surprise.
“It’s not a glamorous moment in life when you’re climbing in bunker gear, but it’s a cool shot,” Weaver said.