How our community is getting active and helping to end lung disease, cancer

A person climbs stairs. (Photo by Sami Abdullah from Pexels.)

In an age when the world is seemingly hyper focused on health, amid an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, perhaps it has made some of us consider our own health a little more.

Candace Griffin is someone who has made a major change to her own health and life, and it all began with the Fight For Air Climb, a 1,000-step stair climb that raises money for the American Lung Association’s efforts to end lung cancer and lung disease. It also supports the organization’s COVID-19 Action Initiative -- a $25 million investment to address the latest coronavirus and protect against future respiratory virus pandemics.

The event is something that, in a way, is a cause that is near and dear to Griffin.

Griffin’s grandmother died more than 20 years ago after years of suffering from emphysema. In memory of her nana, and as a way to prioritize her own health, Griffin decided in 2021 it was time to get in on the event.

She participated in regularly scheduled climbs, ate well and, according to Griffin, turned her life around.

“Last year’s Climb woke me up,” she said. “I didn’t realize how out of shape I was, and now I’m on my way to becoming my best physical self ever.”

Griffin said there are so many reasons everyone can benefit from the Fight For Air Climb, calling it “life changing.”

“It’s your chance to get moving, feel that spark of competition, and be a part of something that creates unity,” she said. “And I promise, it will bring you pure joy -- all while helping to raise funds for lung health. This climb will make an impact on your life, as it did mine, because, just think about it: When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.”

Nearly 200 people within the community stepped up recently to participate in the event, which was held Feb. 19 for the 15th year. Event goers joined law enforcement officers and firefighters, all of whom climbed 1,000 stadium stairs, passed through the player entrance and dashed onto the finish line -- while enjoying the Orlando skyline at Exploria Stadium.

“Once again, this event proved to be as moving as it was rewarding for all who participated, young and old alike,” said Janelle Hom, executive director for the Lung Association. “Thank you to all of our participants, volunteers and sponsors who came together to make a difference in the lives of people facing lung disease, lung cancer and COVID-19.”

The event has raised $84,646 and counting.

For those who were unable to attend the climb, it’s not too late to do your part.

The organization is offering a Climb Your Way option for those who couldn’t make it to the physical event.

To learn more about the Fight For Air Climb event or how to donate to the cause, click or tap here.