This website uses cookies. By continuing you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

Chicago Survivor Climbs 180 Floors to Raise Awareness that Anyone Can Get Lung Cancer

(February 21, 2019) - CHICAGO

For more information please contact:

Jill Thompson
[email protected]

Last year, the Running family of Libertyville was devastated when their mother was diagnosed with lung cancer, so now they are raising awareness and money to find a cure by participating in the Fight For Air Climb at Presidential Towers on March 10.

In 2017, Michelle Running developed a lingering cough. After a few months, she visited a doctor who believed the cough was a virus. Just to be safe the doctor ordered an x-ray, which revealed a mass on her lungs. Additional scans and a biopsy revealed that Michelle had stage III lung cancer although she had never smoked and had no risk factors for the disease.

“Before her diagnosis, my mom was very active – she was doing Crossfit five days a week. She didn’t have any trouble breathing. We had no idea [she was sick], it was the craziest thing in the world,” said Hailey Running, Michelle’s daughter. “Before the lung cancer diagnosis, we just thought people who smoked got lung cancer.”

Michelle underwent chemotherapy, had surgery to remove her middle right lung and 22 lymph nodes, and then went through 25 rounds of radiation to fight the lung cancer. Thankfully, in May 2018 Michelle was declared cancer-free.

“We are lucky that her doctor pushed for these tests. She is lucky that it was caught at stage III,” said Hailey.

Hailey discovered the American Lung Association and their LUNG FORCE initiative to raise awareness for lung cancer in woman. Since the Runnings are a very active family, they signed up for the Fight For Air Climb to honor their mother together. Michelle, now cancer-free, Hailey and at least three other family members will all climb Presidential Towers on March 10.

“The American Lung Association is committed to raising the awareness of lung cancer and raising money for research so hopefully one day families will no longer have to hear ‘you have lung cancer,’” said Hailey. “I climb to make more people aware that lung cancer isn’t just for smokers. Anybody can get it. It was life changing for us.”

The Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb at Presidential Towers attracts thousands of Illinois residents and people from across the country who race up the stairs of 1, 2, 3 or all 4 Presidential Towers (a total of 180 floors, 2,340 steps). More information and registration for the event is available online.


About the American Lung Association

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 coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

Red button with telephone
Ask An Expert

Questions about your lung health? Need help finding healthcare? Call 1-800-LUNGUSA.

Get help
Red button of two hand prints
We need your generous support

Make a difference by delivering research, education and advocacy to those impacted by lung disease.

Button of turquoise LUNG FORCE swirl

LUNG FORCE unites women and their loved ones across the country to stand together in the fight against lung cancer.

Get involved
Join the fight for healthy lungs and healthy air.
Donate Now.