Agawam Mother Participates in the Fight for Air Climb: Springfield for her Daughter | American Lung Association

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Agawam Mother Participates in the Fight for Air Climb: Springfield for her Daughter

(October 29, 2015) - SPRINGFIELD, MA

Shelby Burgess understands the discomfort of having trouble breathing. Burgess, of Agawam, grew up with severe asthma; now that her daughter suffers from the same health issue, Shelby is working to raise awareness by participating in the 8th annual Fight for Air Climb: Springfield on Saturday November 7, 2015 at One Monarch Place for the first time. Burgess will climb 528 steps to raise awareness about asthma and honor of her daughter Ashley Rodriguez. 

Rodriguez,who is now 23 years old, was born with asthma and has spent much of her life in-and-out of hospitals. During the fall and winter months, Ashley uses an oxygen tank to assist her breathing. “It’s hard when you’re a teenager to have to walk around with an oxygen tank, especially when people don’t fully understand what it’s like to have severe asthma,” Burgess said. 

Fight for Air Climbs are the American Lung Association’s most unique fundraisers. Climbs take place in prominent skyscrapers, stadiums or arenas and involve walking, running or racing up hundreds of steps. Sometimes called a "vertical road race," teams and individual participants can use the event as a fitness target, as a race, or as a great way to be active and meet new friends. 

Most people with asthma experience a tight feeling in the chest and shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing at some point in their life. It is a life threatening disease, but it can be managed to minimize symptoms so people living with asthma can be active and healthy. Burgess hopes her participation in the climb educates others on how dangerous living with asthma can be. Shelby recalls a time Ashley had an asthma attack at school. “I don’t think the school nurse really understood just how serious it was. She was on the top floor and she was asked to walk all the way downstairs. By the time she made it down the stairs, she could hardly breathe. When the ambulance finally did arrive, we were told that if we waited another five minutes, Ashley could have died,” Burgess said. 

“The Lung Association is proud to have Shelby participating in our Fight for Air Climb in Springfield to raise awareness about asthma,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “Living with asthma can be difficult but there are ways to keep it under control. By climbing for her daughter, Shelby is showing Ashley and others that it’s possible to live an active lifestyle even if you do have asthma. We’re grateful to have Shelby climbing with us and hope to see her at future Fight For Air Climbs,” Seyler said. 

For Burgess, participating in the Fight for Air Climb is a major  accomplishment. “This is huge for me,”  said Burgess. ”Growing up with asthma and having had a difficult time doing physical activity all my life makes doing this 30 years later all the more incredible ,” Burgess said.

The Fight for Air Climb: Springfield is generously sponsored by Monarch Place, Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel, MedExpress Urgent Care, Genentech, AMP Radio Network, 94.7 FM WMAS, Sports Radio 1450 A.M The Hall and WWLP Channel 22 News.  An after-party at MVP Sheraton, located inside Monarch Place will immediately follow the event.

To register for the Fight For Air Climb visit the event website at fightforairclimb.org .  All participants in the Fight For Air Climb must raise $100 by event day.  Registration begins at 8 a.m. sharp and the first climber will take off at 9 a.m.  Questions about the event, can be directed to Danielle Ferrari, Development Manager at SpringfieldClimb@LungNE.org or 860-838-4371.

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