Easton Resident Will Climb Hundreds of Steps at One Boston Place in Remembrance of her Late Mother
Kayla Byrnes to help the American Lung Association Raise Awareness by Participating in the Annual Fight for Air Climb: Race Up Boston Place presented by Boston Private
(December 2, 2015) -
When Kayla Byrnes, of Easton climbs the 789 steps of One Boston Place she only has one goal in mind, making her mom proud. Byrnes is participating in the 11th annual Fight for Air Climb: Race Up Boston Place presented by Boston Private in memory of her mother Debbie Byrnes. Debbie passed away from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis six years ago. Now, Kayla is dedicated to raising awareness about lung disease so other families don’t have to endure the same experience as she did.
Debbie died in November 2009 and for Kayla and her family it happened too quickly. Debbie was originally diagnosed with pneumonia. After returning home from the hospital, Debbie was readmitted and placed into a coma by doctors. While she was in a coma, Debbie’s lungs began to collapse, causing her to lose oxygen and suffer from severe brain damage. The family was given her diagnosis while Debbie was unconscious. “She wasn’t even aware she had pulmonary fibrosis. It was devastating for our whole family. I think if we had been given her diagnosis sooner and she had gone through treatments it might have been easier. But everything was so sudden,” Byrnes said.
The 2016 Climb will be held on Saturday, February 6 at One Boston Place on 201 Washington Street. Fight for Air Climbs are one of the signature fundraising events of the American Lung Association. The Climbs are held in prominent skyscrapers and other buildings across the country, giving participants the opportunity to join together with friends, family and co-workers as they climb the stairs of the building to the top. The Fight for Air Climb: Race Up Boston Place presented by Boston Private has drawn in thousands of participants who help spread the Lung Association’s mission of improving lung health and preventing lung disease.
Kayla remembers her mother as a nurturing, positive person who was constantly smiling. “It seemed like she was never upset or sad about anything,” Byrnes said. Kayla is also certain her mother would be pleased to know she has formed “Team Debbie,” in order to help others like her mother. “My mom was always teaching me to give back. I know she would be happy that I participate in the climb and proud to see how far the team has come,” Byrnes said. At its inception, “Team Debbie” had six members and now registers about 20 people every year.
“The Lung Association is honored to have Kayla and the rest of “Team Debbie” returning to our Fight for Air Climb in Boston,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “It’s for families like Kayla’s that our organization fights every day to raise the necessary awareness and funding for lung disease. Kayla’s dedication to the Lung Association and to helping others like her mother are what will help make this year’s Fight for Air Climb another success.”
Registration and check-in will begin at 7:15 a.m. The first climber will take off at 8 a.m. The firefighter challenge will begin at 12 p.m. A celebration and awards ceremony will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Scholars Bistro on 25 School Street. Those who are interested in registering should go to the event website at fightforairclimb.org or contact Event Manager Erin Hickey-Reardon at BostonClimb@LungNE.org or 781.314.9005.