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Hundreds to Join Local Woman Who Had Lung Transplant to Climb Skyscraper at the 5th Annual Fight For Air Climb – Newark

American Lung Association’s signature research fundraising event takes place Saturday March 23, 2019

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(February 23, 2019) - NEWARK, N.J.

When you can’t breathe nothing else matters. On Saturday, March 23 at 10 a.m. hundreds of participants, including first responders, will join the American Lung Association in New Jersey for the 5th annual Fight For Air Climb in Newark. Climbing this year at One Gateway Center is 30-year-old Rachel McGrorry of Neptune, New Jersey, who had a left lung transplant. Both of her lungs were damaged by pulmonary fibrosis.

“I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 4. We had no idea that 24 years later that would cause me to develop pulmonary fibrosis and require a lifesaving lung transplant,” said McGrorry.  “After waiting for only 2 and a half weeks on the waiting list, I received my single lung transplant on February 6, 2017. It’s been a bumpy road the last two years, but I am back to enjoying all that life has to offer! I thank my donor every day for giving me the chance to experience every new day. Life tastes that much sweeter when you receive the gift of life.”

Climbing with Rachel, and hundreds of others, will be lung cancer survivor and LUNG FORCE Hero Carol Ann Lipsett of Pompton Lakes, NJ. This mother of three will be competing in the Battle of the Scrubs Challenge alongside her teammates from Hackensack University Medical Center’s Department of Thoracic Surgery. Carol Ann, a respiratory therapist at Hackensack University Medical Center, will also be climbing with her children.

“I was diagnosed 3 years ago. I was considered a stage 1B and had a right upper lobe lobectomy on Feb 24, 2016. I was fortunate that it did not spread and I didn’t need chemo or radiation,” said Lipsett, of HUMC Team LungNutz19. “ I found some very useful information on the American Lung Association’s website (  Participating in the Fight For Air Climb experience has given me an insight to how my patients feel. I relate to them on a different level. I do this climb to help inspire others with lung disease, to help inspire my patients.”

Participants climb in support of friends and loved ones who suffer from lung diseases like asthma, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis and lung cancer – the number one cancer killer in America - and help raise funds for clean air and lung disease research, education and advocacy.  During this unique endurance event, that’s open to all fitness levels, Fight For Air Climb participants will scale 27 floors – that’s 504 stairs of one of the tallest skyscrapers in downtown Newark – One Gateway Center (next to Newark Penn Station).  The American Lung Association’s annual fundraiser has been reaching exhilarating heights for 5 years in New Jersey!

“In New Jersey, it’s estimated more than 1 million people have chronic lung disease, such as asthma or COPD. In addition, lung cancer continues to be the number one cancer killer of men and women. The Fight For Air Climb in Newark is a reminder that no one should have to fight for air on a daily basis.” said Jeff Seyler, American Lung Association, Eastern Division Chief Officer. “This is truly a remarkable experience for all fitness levels; if you can walk a mile, you can climb!”

Proceeds support the mission of the American Lung Association: to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Last year’s Climb raised $100,000 and this year’s goal is to raise $115,000 for lung disease prevention, research and advocacy programs.

While healthcare teams will compete in the Battle of the Scrubs Challenge, fire fighters wearing full gear, police officers, EMTs and other emergency personnel will compete in teams of five in either the Fastest Fire or First Responder Challenge.  All participants, including corporate, academic, and friends and family teams will cheer on the first responders in appreciation for putting their own lungs in harm’s way when in the line of duty.

The American Lung Association in New Jersey thanks the following sponsors: Onyx Properties, RWJBarnabas Health, PSEG, Hackensack Meridian Health, Broadridge Financial and Redd’s Biergarten.

Fight For Air climbers can participate individually or as a team. Registration is $25 per participant and includes a $100 fundraising minimum. Following the Climb, friends and supporters will celebrate at the Awards After-Party at Redd’s Biergarten, honoring top fundraisers, teams and climbers with the best times.   In addition to the First Responder and Fastest Fire Team Challenges, healthcare teams will compete to win the Battle of the Scrubs trophy and corporate teams will challenge each other for the Corporate Climb Cup.

Free parking is available at the Market Street entrance of the Three Gateway garage. Pre-climb activities include check-in, continental breakfast, vendor exhibits, opening ceremony with moment of silence for those lost to lung disease and a warmup including a boot camp style option. Registrations are accepted until the morning of the Climb. For more information, to register or to donate, contact Karen Isky at 908-685-8040 or [email protected] or visit

Media interested in covering the event or speaking with a lung disease expert or Fight For Air Climb participant, please contact the American Lung Association Eastern Division Communications Director Ewa Dworakowski at [email protected] or 717-971-1123, 717-503-3903 (cell).


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:

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