Sean Mullin, RT student
The American Lung Association held their annual “Fight for Air Climb” at One Gateway Center in Newark on Saturday morning, March 28. About 200 people climbed 28 stories to raise money, and awareness, for lung cancer research. It was the association’s first time in the city, and “…we are looking forward to coming back next year”, said Karen Isky, the development director of the N.J. chapter.
Local fire departments participated in full fire safety gear, many local businesses and individuals made significant contributions to the event, and there was some serious competition from out of state runners to be the First to the Top. Students and professionals were present to have fun, raise funds, promote awareness, and climb some stairs. Over $20,000 was raised from local businesses and individuals.
The County College of Morris Respiratory Therapy program was there, bright and early, and well represented. Current students, alumni, and faculty were all there to meet the 28 flights of stairs challenge, give a strong account of themselves, and raise awareness for the work they do and the diseases they fight. The team, named “Flights for Lungs”, raised a total of $1735.00 for the A.L.A., led by Natalia Gutierrez with a solid $410.00 in donations.
All who participated made it to the 26th floor (we started 2 floors below the first floor), water bottles in hand, where the air was one of accomplishment. Climbers were motivated by messages and facts about lung health. Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer of men and women, according to the association. Asthma and COPD are some of the challenges today’s, and tomorrow’s professionals will have to battle. Raising awareness, and funds, is only the beginning. But for a moment, the climbers could enjoy a little breather on the 26th floor on a Saturday morning. “Oh my gosh”, said CCM student Jessica Figueroa with a broad smile. “Sweet victory”.