Climbing Suburbs’ Tallest Tower for a Purpose

Firefighters, police, elite climbers and families fill day with excitement

(February 10, 2014)

More than 800 participants climbed Oakbrook Terrace Tower on Sunday, February 9th as part of the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago’s 2014 Fight for Air Climb. The event gave them an opportunity to challenge themselves physically, as well as to raise awareness and funding to improve lung health and research. 

From five-year-old Jayda Garcia, to George Burnham who is 71-years-young, climbers of all ages and all walks of life packed the suburbs’ tallest building for a purpose. Brian Duhn climbs every year in memory of his late mother, Sandy, who lost her battle with COPD a few years ago. 

North Riverside Fireman Rich Gray climbed with several other first responders from his firehouse in honor of his father, a lung transplant survivor. Gray and his firehouse team were also among dozens of firefighters from 10 firehouses competing for the coveted traveling Firehouse Fight for Air Trophy.

Other competitive elements included the ‘Extreme Climb,’ during which participants climbed the tower twice and combine both times; the ‘Ultimate Climb’ allowed them to climb the tower three times and combine times; and the ‘Power Hour’ involves climbing as many times as possible in one hour. Climbers were professionally timed and received a tech-shirt and medal. 

The Fight for Air Climb is a unique fundraising event for the Lung Association. Climbers help improve the lives of patients across the country and locally in Illinois. Ninety cents of every dollar raised goes directly to education, research and advocacy.

As of this writing, more than $170,000 has been raised, but donations are still being counted. Readers can still support the Climb and Lung Association by clicking here to make a donation or calling 312-781-1100.

Print, online and TV news rounded out the media coverage for the event. The Daily Herald wrote a print and online article, ABC 7 Morning News did a few live news reports and ABC 7 10pm News aired a full news package.