For five years, the Delaware Fire Department has been participating in stair climbs. Now, they are set to participate in a climb in their own backyard as the American Lung Association’s 2021 Fight for Air Climb is scheduled to be held at Ohio Wesleyan’s Selby Field on Thursday, June 3.
Those participating in the climb will traverse nearly 900 stairs, along with a jog around the stadium’s track. Participants are free to finish the climb at their own pace, whether that be a race to the finish or a lighter stroll through the stadium. Individuals, families, groups of friends, corporate teams, and first responders are all invited to take part in the Delaware climb.
For those who are unable to attend the event, the American Lung Association is also offering a “Climb Your Way” option as a form of virtual participation.
For one local firefighter, the climb will carry a personal meaning after having lost two loved ones to lung-related diseases. Nick Highley of Local 606 lost his grandfather to lung cancer and his grandmother to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and seeing countless others struggle with lung diseases as part of his daily duties has left a lasting impression on him.
“It’s hard to watch someone you love go from being outgoing and active to someone who can barely walk,” Highley said in a press release for the event. “As first responders, we not only see the sickness and death related to lung disease, but we see how debilitating lung disease can be on a daily basis.”
Highley said he is particularly excited to be able to have the event in Delaware, both as a way to give back to the community and to showcase the event. Holding the event locally has also piqued the interest of his fellow members, leading to more participation and more fundraising.
“Last year, we had three or four members and were able to raise $600,” Highley said. This year, the team has 20 members and has raised over $3,500.
In total, the Fight for Air climb has currently raised nearly $55,000 of its $70,000 goal. According to the release, money raised at the Fight For Air Climb will fund the Lung Association’s efforts to end lung cancer and lung disease, as well as support the Lung Association’s COVID-19 Action Initiative, a $25 million investment to address COVID-19 and protect against future respiratory virus pandemics.
For more information on the event, registration, or how to donate, visit FightForAirClimb.org/Columbus. Masks will be required at the event and social distancing will be practiced.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.