MetroWNY: The higher the climb, the cleaner the air

(January 27, 2011)

By:Kori Sciandra
Date: Thursday January 27, 2011

The statewide mission to achieve clean air and healthy lungs is underway, and it’s coming on strong.

The American Lung Association (ALA) has created a fun and rejuvenating way to raise funds for research and programs geared toward the support of a healthier life for those afflicted with lung disease. The “Fight for Air Climb” Fire Fighter Challenge is an event that has recently found success in areas like New York City and Rochester. Locally, the event is scheduled at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 12 at 1 HSBC Center in Buffalo. Check-In begins at 9 a.m.

Through the event, the ALA is hoping to build a commitment to the people and a connection with the Buffalo community.

Participants have been asked to meet the challenge of climbing 40 stories or 800 steps at 1 HSBC Arena. There will be resting areas along the climb for individuals to catch their breath and rehydrate.

“We are so excited to do this. It’s been such a successful event so far and we’re happy to bring it to Buffalo,” said Scott Santarella, CEO of the lung association. 

Many patients who are affiliated with ALA live in Buffalo and surrounding areas, and are often exposed to smoke or airborne toxins. They often develop lung disease. Many of those patients have unfortunately been fire fighters who have obtained a lung disease due to exposure to smoke inhalation during rescues.

Climbing 40 flights of stairs is a common training technique that fire fighters use and the ALA thought this was a great way to show their support to such honorable and brave individuals.

The registration fee for each participant is $25; registrants must raise a minimum total of $100 by Saturday, Feb. 12 in order to participate.

As of press time, top individual fundraisers so far are: Donna Slojkowski, $130; William Loeffler, $100; Krystal Sondel, $95; Debbie Costantino, $65; and James Springate, $50.

Top company fundraisers are: D’Youville College, $135; Harter Secrest and Emery, LLP, $25; and HSBC, $25.

Top teams are: DYCSoP Team Centrum Silver, $135; Team Retail Bank, $25; and Climb Harter, $25.  

The ALA has set a goal of raising $50,000 in funds to support its statewide mission. They are encouraging individuals who wish to participate to ask friends and family and come out to support the cause.

“This is a great opportunity to raise awareness,” Santarella said.

Proceeds from the event will be used to fund ALA programs such as Open Airways, Freedom from Smoking, and COPD Efforts Support Group located in Buffalo.

Lung problems do not only occur from smoking or the unfortunate diagnoses of hereditary disease.

Too often, the ALA sees lung problems resulting from factories, prevailing winds and air pollution. The location of some manufacturing facilities in Buffalo, combined with wind patterns, can expose residents living outside manufacturing zones to toxins produced through manufacturing. Therefore, aiding in the effort to create clean air and healthier lungs is an active way to take part in making a difference.

For more information email or call (212) 889-3370.,_the_cleaner_the_air.html