ALA launches second annual stairclimb event
Registration now is underway and teams have begun training for the 2011 Fight For Air Stairclimb, scheduled for Saturday, April 30 at the High Point Place, located at 2104 West First Street in Fort Myers. The event is hosted by the Gulfcoast Chapter of the American Lung Association.
The inaugural event last May raised $50,000 for the battle against lung diseases such as asthma and lung cancer, which is the leading cancer-related death for men and women in the United States. Event organizers hope to up the fundraising effort to $60,000 this year.
During stairclimbs, which the American Lung Association (ALA) hosts throughout the country, participants raise money by collecting pledges to ascend the stairway in a high-rise tower. High Point Place, the tallest building between Tampa and Miami, has donated access to one of its towers for the Fight For Air Climb, and Lee Memorial Health System has returned as the largest sponsor.
“Nearly 200 climbers participated last year, and we anticipate that number to increase substantially for our second annual event,” said Kurt Goerke, regional director of the ALA’s Gulfcoast Chapter.
As is the trend nationally, the Fort Myers stairclimb is attracting an increasing level of support and participation from local firefighters. Typically, firefighters don their full gear during the climb, providing a healthy competition between neighboring fire districts while at the same time inspiring non-firefighting participants.
Ten fire districts already have signed up teams for the event, including Captiva, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Estero, Fort Myers, Iona McGregor, North Naples, San Carlos Park, South Trail and Tice.
“We had such positive feedback last year from participants about the involvement of the firefighters, and we are so pleased there’s an even greater level of interest from them this year,” Goerke said. “Hopefully we will see all local fire districts represented in the stairclimb. We couldn’t ask for better representatives of the need to fight for air than firefighters.”
Teams who have registered for the event are invited to begin training, and practice climbs are scheduled weekly on Saturday mornings. The cost to register for the event is $25, and each climber must raise $100. More information and online registration is available at www.FightForAirClimb.org.
“High Point Place offers climbers 30 floors and 514 steps, which will provide for a nice fitness challenge,” Goerke said.
Fight For Air Climbs are unique fundraising events for the ALA, usually occurring in prominent skyscrapers, stadiums or arenas and involve climbing multiple steps. Sometimes called a “vertical road race,” teams and individual participants often use the event as a fitness target, as a race or as a way to be active and meet new friends. Many climbers participate to support someone who has lung disease or as a memorial to someone who has passed away.
In addition to Lee Memorial Health System and High Point Place, sponsors for the local stairclimb include BB&T, Bagel Bagel, Culligan Water, Ree-Shape Your Life, Rene’s Restaurant, Starbucks, Story Book Realty, Microware Inc. and Sun Harvest Citrus.
For more information, or to get involved, call 239-908-2685.