American Lung Association
Last year's Fight for Air Climb attracted several first responders, who returned again this year as well.
More than a few people spent part of their Saturday breathing heavy. The American Lung Association's Fourth Annual Fight for Air Climb
drew 250 community members aged 8 to 81 to the U.S. Bank Building in downtown Boise to climb all 32 floors. Some particularly ambitious participants climbed a total of 128 stories in all.
"The thing about lung health is that a lot of us are healthy enough that we don't think twice about the air we breathe," said Heather Kimmel, with the Idaho branch of the American Lung Association. "But most of us have a friend or family member that has suffered from asthma or bronchitis or complications from smoking."
The American Lung Association states that lung disease is the third leading cause of death in the United States, and lung cancer kills more people than the other top three cancer killers combined. Asthma is also the leading cause of missed school days due to chronic illness.
Registration cost $35 for each climber, with a $100 fundraising requirement. That means the organization walked away with an estimated $30,000 from today's event. Kimmel told Boise Weekly
that money will go toward lung health programs here in Idaho and advocacy work to keep clean air in Idaho communities.
She added that clean air faces many threats, from vehicle emissions to wildfires.
Also participating in the climb were about 60 first responders from various fire and police departments, SWAT teams, and service members from the Gowen Field Air National Guard Base and Mountain Home Air Force Base. Kimmel said first responders are particularly drawn to events like these because they have a high exposure to smoke and chemicals in their jobs, which affect their lungs.
Kimmel called the morning a great success.
"It looked like a lot of people beginning at a start line and disappearing up a staircase," she said with a laugh. But that's exactly what she hoped for.