Providence Police Officer Ready to “Peak the Plaza” at Providence Fight for Air Climb

February 23 event raises money to fight lung disease

(October 2, 2012)

Last year was Patrol Officer Michele Rudolph’s first time participating in the Providence Fight for Air Climb. As a member of the Providence Police Department, District Four, she formed the West End Warriors team and recruited the District Four Commander, Lt. Luis San Lucas, along with several other patrol officers to join her. Two other teams from the police department had previously competed in the climb and Rudolph thought this would be a fun way to encourage some friendly competition within the department while helping to support a cause near and dear to her.  With the addition of Rudolph’s team, the Providence Police Department had the largest law enforcement presence at the event last year and is hoping to further increase their presence this year.

“I was attracted to this event for a number of reasons,” says Rudolph.  “I like the fitness aspect of the event because I am focused on improving my overall fitness and stair climbing is a real challenge.  Secondly, it’s been a great way to build camaraderie within the various divisions of our department and it’s fun to compete against one another.  I am also very supportive of the work the Lung Association is doing to help people quit smoking and reduce secondhand smoke exposure.  I grew up in the 70s when smoking was much more prevalent and I remember how awful it was to be exposed to other people’s smoking and have to breathe it in. I want to live in an environment where my children can breathe clean, smokefree air so they can live healthy lives.”

Rudolph has seen the harm tobacco use can cause firsthand. Her grandmother developed lung cancer 30 years after quitting. Even though smoking remains the leading cause of lung cancer, 50% of these cancers occur in former smokers, and 15% in those who have never smoked at all. Additionally, an aunt who was a heavy smoker suffered from collapsed lungs.

For Rudolph, participating in the Fight for Air Climb is a way to support the work of an organization that shares her commitment to health and fitness and is working to create a world free of lung disease.  In addition to helping people quit smoking through Freedom From Smoking® Online, the Lung Association educates the public about the dangers of tobacco and the steps that need to be taken to reduce tobacco use with the release of its State of Tobacco Control Report each year.

As a patrol officer, Rudolph has developed many good relationships with businesses in her district and many of them have supported her efforts. One local business, East Coast Screen Printing, donated the team’s shirts. Other business sponsors included Property Advisory Group, D'Vine on the Hill, Siena - Providence and The Federal Hill House. Rudolph is committed to her health and believes the Fight for Air Climb is a unique way to help improve one’s own health and the health of others.  She’s set a personal goal of beating her own time last year and hopes to make it up the stairs faster than her colleagues on opposing teams. 

The Peak the Plaza Fight for Air Climb will be held at One Financial Plaza on Saturday, February 23.  It’s the fifth year the Lung Association has held the event. Participants will fight for air by climbing up the 597 stairs of One Financial Plaza.  The event attracts both elite athletes and novice stair climbers alike.  Participants can choose to race, run, or walk up the stairs.  All funds raised support the Lung Association’s mission to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through research, education and advocacy.  Peak the Plaza is generously sponsored by Kindred Healthcare, Amica Insurance, WJAR NBC10, One Financial Plaza, and Rí Rá Irish Pub Providence.

Those who would like to join Rudolph, the Providence Police Department, and the other 500 plus participants expected to participate in the event will get $10 off the registration fee and an official early bird t-shirt if they register before October 31. To register, visit the event website at fightforairclimb.org and use coupon code "upne42". The regular registration fee is $35, or $50 on the day of the climb. All participants must raise $100 by event day.

“While we accept registrations all the way up to the day of the climb, we really encourage early bird registration because those who register early are generally most successful in their fundraising,” said Event Manager, Elise Kerrigan.  “Every dollar raised for this event helps us prevent lung disease and support people who are living with lung disease.  We do everything we can to support our climb participants and help them be successful.”

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