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78-year-old COPD patient scales 56 flights in support of lung research

Hundreds will climb 1,098 steps in the American Lung Association’s 12th Annual Fight For Air Climb

(January 12, 2017) -

Roxlyn “Lyn” Cole has participated in the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb Denver since it began in 2006. The 78-year-old Denver resident will be there for the 12th anniversary and, in like previous years, she’ll climb to the top of the Republic Plaza with a 15-pound oxygen tank on her back.

Cole was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on Valentine’s Day 2003 and began attending pulmonary rehab classes early on. Three years later, she regained her strength and endurance and was able to complete her first Climb. Even with COPD, bullous emphysema, bronchiectasis and asthma, Cole climbs all 1,098 steps to the top, joining her team Altitude with Attitude & O2, with 15 liters of oxygen pumping into her body.

“You have to train your brain to have a positive attitude; do more and you can do more,” Cole said. “I participate in the Fight For Air Climb because I want to prove that anyone at any age can improve their muscles and fitness. I want to inspire people with other lung health problems that if they take one step at a time they can accomplish more than they thought possible.”  

The Fight For Air Climb honors local heroes like Cole by raising funds for lung disease research, education and advocacy.  On Sunday, Feb. 26, at 7 a.m. hundreds of American Lung Association supporters will be climbing in support of friends and loved ones who suffer from lung diseases, such as COPD, asthma and lung cancer.  A vertical road race, Fight For Air Climb participants will scale 56 flights of stairs in the Republic Plaza in downtown Denver.

“The Fight For Air Climb is truly a unique experience for both running and fitness enthusiasts, as well as our participants that are suffering from a lung disease,” said Ellen Penrod, executive director of the American Lung Association in Colorado.  “And is a reminder that no one should have to fight for air on a daily basis.”

The American Lung Association in Colorado’s 2017 Fight For Air Climb is sponsored by Anthem BlueCross BlueShield. Additionally, firefighters and first responder teams will be climbing the stairs in full gear to raise funds to fight lung disease.  For more information or to register, visit


About the American Lung Association in Colorado 

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit the newly redesigned website:

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