Sixteen-Year-Old from Delaware Will Travel to Boston to Climb in Memory of Aunt

Nick DiIenno shed 50 pounds to ‘Race Up Boston Place’ this February

WALTHAM, MA (January 9, 2013)

On Saturday, February 2, the American Lung Association of the Northeast will host the 8th annual “Race Up Boston Place” Fight for Air Climb. Participants, including teams of firefighters, come from across the Northeast and beyond to reach the top of One Boston Place in support of lung health. Nick DiIenno, 16, will travel from Delaware to climb for the first time in 2013, as part of the team “Linda’s Purple Dragonflies,” named for his Aunt Linda who lost her battle with lung cancer in 2007.

Aunt Linda
Aunt Linda & Nick, 1998

Linda, a lifelong non-smoker, was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer, and sadly lost her battle with the disease just a few months later; she was only 53 years old. The Fight for Air Climb team was formed a couple of years ago, named for Linda’s favorite color and for the dragonfly, a symbol of eternity. “Last year, as the team was training and preparing for the climb, Nick said ‘I’m going to do this next year,’” stated Nick’s mother, Dawn DiIenno. Nick stayed true to his word, and has since lost more than 50 pounds in order to climb the almost 800 stairs of One Boston Place.

When asked what drives him as he prepares for the stairclimb, Nick replied, “Losing my Aunt Linda to lung cancer really hit home for me. I don’t want anyone else to have to go through that.” When Nick first committed to the Fight for Air Climb, he started by walking in his neighborhood and in a local park near his home. He now incorporates running into his workouts, as well as climbing stairs in his home anywhere from15 to 20 times. Nick also takes to the treadmill and elliptical machine in his basement when the winter cold is too much to bear.

To further prepare for February’s event, Nick even volunteered at a Fight for Air Climb in Delaware, hosted by the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic. The climb took place on November 3 in Wilmington.

Linda’s Purple Dragonflies boasts 26 team members in 2013. The team continues to grow with each passing year. Team members come from all over the east coast, from New Hampshire all the way down to Virginia. Even more friends, family members, and loved ones show their support by coming out to cheer on the team on February 2 or by submitting donations so that the team, and Nick, can reach their goals. The American Lung Association reinvests 79 cents on every dollar to support research, education and advocacy related to lung disease and lung health. Donations can be made on behalf of Nick or Linda’s Purple Dragonflies at ClimbofyourLife.org

“Millions of people in the Northeast are living with lung cancer and other lung diseases, and countless more family members and loved ones are affected by their diagnoses,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “The American Lung Association is committed to reducing the burden of lung disease on all Americans through education, advocacy and research.”

Federal funding for lung cancer research falls dramatically behind funding for cancers like breast, colon and prostate; yet the 5-year survival rate is just 15%. The American Lung Association funds nationwide research that focuses on preventing lung cancer, increasing the survival rate and reducing its effects on patients’ quality of life.  The nonprofit organization is funding several research projects, as reported in the recently released Research Awards Nationwide 2012-2013. A full report of all American Lung Association funded research is available at Lung.org/research.

Nick DiIenno
Nick DiIenno, 16

More than 1,400 are expected to race, run or walk up the 789 stairs of One Boston Place in support of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. Kindred Hospital Boston is the premier sponsor of the eighth annual “Race Up Boston Place.” Additional sponsors include CB Richard Ellis, Captivate Network, Kindred Hospital Stoughton, Poland Spring, Whole Foods Market, 100.7 WZLX, and Mix 104.1. The event is also made possible with the support of national Corporate Team sponsor, Kindred Healthcare.

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