Schenectady, NY Man Preparing for Fight For Air Climb Hartford Next Month
(March 24, 2016) -
Even though Alex Workman lives in Schenectady, New York, a city not far from the state capitol, he doesn’t mind traveling all over the Northeast (and all over the country) to get in a good workout while raising money for a cause that’s near and dear to his heart: the American Lung Association. The American Lung Association has the largest stair climbing program in the country offering over 50 climbs nationwide with 8 of them being in the Northeast, including the 688-step climb at Hartford 21 coming up on April 23.
For someone like Alex, a competitive stair climber who also suffers from asthma, the event fulfills both his need to be physically challenged and his desire to support an organization that funds research that is finding better treatments and cures for asthma and other lung diseases. In fact, the Fight For Air Climb was launched in 2006 to combat the rise of lung disease in the United States. The event has raised over $43 million dollars since its inception.
“I was diagnosed with asthma when I was four and half years old and had trouble breathing for much of my life,” says Workman. “Both my parents smoked cigarettes and as I got older I had a lot of trouble breathing. I remember running on the track and cross country teams in high school. Whenever I had an asthma attack I would have to stop running because I couldn’t catch my breath. It is a real scary feeling... A new medicine that came on the market changed my life; suddenly I could breathe a lot better. One of the reasons I support the Lung Association is because I know how important it is to research lung diseases like asthma so that new therapies that improve people’s quality of life continue to be found.”
While Fight for Air Climbs are for people from all backgrounds, Workman is considered an “elite climber.” To be an elite climber, you must be able to climb to the top of the building within a certain amount of minutes set by the climb. (For Hartford, that time is 5 minutes) Because they are so fast, the Fight for Air Climbs generally have the elite climbers start the event before all other climbers.
To date Workman estimates he’s participated in about 40 climbs since 2011; he tries to do about 8 a year. He admits that the Hartford climb is one of his favorites because there are a lot of competitive climbers who also participate. His goal this year is to set the record for Hartford. Workman recently helped start an organization Tower running USA which is in the process of becoming a nonprofit organization that will advance stairclimbing as a healthy form of exercise and promote stairclimbing as a competitive amateur sport.
According to the American Lung Association, more than 33 million Americans live with a chronic lung disease like asthma or COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Additionally, lung cancer remains the leading cancer killer of both men and women.
“The funds we raise at the Fight For Air Climb will support our efforts to fight lung disease and help people living with lung disease live healthier lives,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “We couldn’t do nearly as much as we do without the support of people like Alex Workman who truly give their all to make this a successful event and are willing to share their personal experiences about what it is like to have a lung disease.”
“Even though my asthma is well managed now, it’s still is a struggle,” says Workman who describes his asthma as severe. “Although severe asthma attacks are few and far between, I still have trouble breathing during allergy season despite being medicated. Plus, because of my asthma I am more susceptible to things like lung infections. I truly am a beneficiary of the work the Lung Association does every day to promote healthy air and healthy lungs so I feel good about being involved.”
The 2016 Fight for Air Climb is generously sponsored by Kindred, Kelser Corporation, Z-Medica, Aetna, Hospital for Special Care, Motley Rice, Genentech, Orthopedic Associates of Middletown, Hartford 21, the Russian Lady, WFSB, Ice River Springs, AMR and AMP. An after-party and awards ceremony will be held at The Russian Lady immediately following the event.
To register, become involved in the Fight for Air Climb: or to make a donation to help save lives, visit FightforAirClimb.org. Day of event registration will be available on site on April 23 beginning at 8:00 a.m. at Hartford 21. The cost to register on the day of the event is $50 and all climbers must additionally raise or donate $100 to climb. Questions about the event can be directed to Event Manager Joy Morse at HartfordClimb@lungNE.org or 860-838-4377.