Western New Yorkers prepare to climb stairs for lung cancer awareness


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The annual Fight for Air Climb, a fundraiser for the American Lung Association, is still a few weeks away, but people are already preparing for the ‘vertical road race’ inside the Main Place Tower in downtown Buffalo.

“I started doing it after my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer and I couldn’t do anything about that,” said Amy Moritz.

Amy Moritz says she had to do something to honor her mother’s battle. She says she’s a runner, but climbing stairs is a different kind of physical activity.

“The point is you’re going to really feel bad at the top. You lungs are burning so for someone like me who doesn’t have any lung issues, I’ve been blessed that I don’t have to deal with asthma or any other lung issues, this is what other people have to deal with their entire life,” said Moritz.

Moritz says with each step she’s remembering her mother who passed away last week.

“It really made me appreciate and understand more of what my mom was going through. She thought it was great, she thought I was crazy in a very good way. It was a lot of fun, it was something that we shared,” said Moritz.

This is just practice for Moritz for the Fight for Air Climb at the Main Place Tower in Buffalo. It’s the annual fundraiser for the American Lung Association.

“We have kids that will participate, we have a couple of lung cancer patients that are participating this year and we have some people in their 70s participating,” said Kaelyn Gates, development director for the American Lung Association.

No matter the skill level or age, people came to practice climbing 24 flights of stairs Saturday morning, including many firefighters who climb in full gear.

“Different experience. Taking in memories of past firefighters that suffer from cancer or lung diseases. It’s for a good cause so I love doing it,” said Brendan Wheeler, a firefighter with the Highland Hose Volunteer Fire Company.

The goal to bring more awareness to lung diseases, one step at a time.

“I really hope more people get involved. Climb as a individual, get some friends together to do a team because it really is a lot of fun,” said Moritz.

More than 500 people are expected to attend the Fight for Air Climb happening March 21st. Organizers hope to raise more than $180,000.

For more information on how you can register, click here.

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