ImmunoGen Employees Step Up to Help American Lung Association Fight Lung Cancer, Support Patients

Stairclimb event supports nonprofit’s research, education and advocacy efforts

The American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb: Race Up Boston Place is set for Saturday, February 1, 2014. About 2,000 climbers, including over 500 firefighters, will tackle the 789 stairs of One Boston Place, one of the tallest buildings in the city.  This will be the ninth year the Lung Association is hosting the event in Boston.  All the money raised supports the Lung Association’s mission to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease.

Immunogen photoAmong those supporting the climb this year is Waltham-based ImmunoGen, Inc., whose mission is to develop innovative, effective anticancer therapies that meaningfully improve the lives of patients with cancer. Employees at  ImmunoGen  work every day  to make a difference for patients with cancer by researching and developing novel anticancer therapeutics, including for certain types of lung cancers.  Through generously sponsoring and participating in the Fight for Air Climb, they hope to support and interact with patients in a more personal way while helping to raise needed funds to fight lung cancer, the leading cancer killer of both men and women.

“ImmunoGen employees are enthusiastic about getting involved in projects that benefit the community and help patients,” said ImmunoGen spokeswoman Sarah Kiely.  “The support for this event has really been phenomenal and that’s because the Fight for Air Climb aligns strongly with the values of our company and our employees .”

Kiely notes that several employees will be climbing in memory of loved ones lost to lung cancer and other lung diseases. Employee John Dahlquist  will be climbing in honor of his Uncle Bill who lost his battle with lung cancer last year.  Lynn Waltzman, the team’s top fundraiser and an asthma sufferer, is climbing in memory of her dad who was lost to lung cancer 14 years ago. Other employees who are climbing have lost loved ones to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which refers to the group of diseases that include emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

While 2014 is ImmunoGen’s first year participating in the climb, they’ve already distinguished themselves by their ability to fundraise and team build.  At present they are among the highest fundraising teams having raised over $5,900 – already exceeding their goal of $5,000. They are also the largest team with 32 members.

Team captain Sarah Morrow says fellow ImmunoGen employees have been very supportive by either signing up themselves to climb or donating to employees who are climbing.  In addition to recruiting, Morrow’s been coordinating training for team members which involves lunch time stairclimbing practice sessions in the company’s stairwell.  She explains that the training has not only been a great way to get prepared, but has helped get the word out about the event.  She notes that people are inclined to wonder what’s going on when they see employees darting up the stairs during lunchtime. The practice sessions have led to many questions about the event and even a $50 donation on the spot.

As for Morrow, she says the purpose of her personal climb is two-fold.  “As a singer, I take the health and vitality of my lungs very seriously. As an employee at a biotechnology company that develops anticancer therapies, I'm grateful for the chance to bring hope to patients and their loved ones through this fundraising climb.”

 “We’re grateful to ImmunoGen for their incredible support this year and are thoroughly impressed by the funds the team has raised on our behalf,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast.  “The funds we raise at this event support the research, education and advocacy we’re doing that is saving lives today and will one day help us realize our vision of a world free of lung disease.”

All proceeds from the Boston Fight for Air Climb will directly fund lung disease research, advocacy and education; including smoking cessation programs, COPD/asthma management, and advocacy for stronger clean air standards. Last year, Race Up Boston Place raised $440,000 to support the mission of the American Lung Association.

 

“Race Up Boston Place” sponsors include CB Richard Ellis, ImmunoGen, Inc., DSCI, Lahey Health, Kindred Hospital Boston and Whole Foods Market. The event is also made possible with the support of national Corporate Team partner, Kindred Healthcare.  To learn more about Race Up Boston Place, or to make a donation that could save lives, visit ClimbofYourLife.org.

To support ImmunoGen and help the American Lung Association find better treatments and cures for lung disease, visiting their team page http:/go.lungne.org/ImmunoGen14