Brunswick Firefighter Will Climb in Memory of His Mom Lost to Emphysema at Lung Association’s 10th Annual Fight for Air Climb | American Lung Association

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Brunswick Firefighter Will Climb in Memory of His Mom Lost to Emphysema at Lung Association’s 10th Annual Fight for Air Climb

(December 1, 2014)

Being of service to others is nothing new for Brunswick Firefighter James Millson.  In addition to serving as a firefighter and a paramedic for the Brunswick Fire Department, Millson served his country for eight years in the U.S. Navy and is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week as a Tactical Medic with the Brunswick P.D’s Special Response Team.   Now Millson is setting his sights on being of service in a different way:  he’s climbing the 789 stairs of the BNY Mellon Center, one of Boston’s tallest buildings, to help raise funds and awareness to fight lung disease.

Millson will be taking part in the American Lung Association’s tenth annual on Saturday, February 7, 2015.   The event draws more than 2,000 participants including over 500 firefighters from across the Northeast and beyond.  Millson’s climbing because lung disease is a cause that’s close to his heart; he lost his mother, Dana Jo Smith, who lived in Florida, as a result of complications from emphysema in 2000.  Emphysema is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. It belongs to the group of diseases known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD.

“My mom was a smoker for many years and she had a hard time with emphysema; she really struggled and was limited in what she could do because of the disease,” says Millson.  “I think back on the things in my life that she missed, sporting events and other important milestones that I wish she could have been there for.  If I can help raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco, maybe I’ll be helping some other young man out there from missing out on having his mother be there for him at the important milestones in his life.  That’s what my climb is about.”   

Millson noted that 2014 was his first time participating in the Fight For Air Climb Boston.  As a firefighter/paramedic with the Brunswick Fire Department, he heard about the event from members of his department that had been climbing in the event for years.  Millson felt it was important for him to get involved to raise awareness about lung disease and do his part to support a cause that he feels strongly about.

The tenth annual “Race Up Boston Place” is generously sponsored by ImmunoGen Inc.  and Boston Private Bank and Trust Co., who are the event’s supporting sponsors, and CB Richard Ellis.  The event is also made possible with the support of national Corporate Team partner, Kindred Healthcare.

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 fighting for stronger clean air standards. To register, learn more about the Race Up Boston Place or to make a donation to help save lives, visit the event website at .  To support James Millson in his fight for air visit   Questions about the event, how to form a team or how to become involved in the Firefighter Challenge can be directed to Event Manager Erin Hickey-Reardon at or 781.314.9005.

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