Northbridge man sets the bar high for himself at Providence Fight For Air Climb | American Lung Association

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Northbridge man sets the bar high for himself at Providence Fight For Air Climb

Robert Sims Hopes to Beat His Personal Best in Time and Fundraising this Saturday

(February 25, 2016) -

The American Lung Association’s 8th annual Fight For Air Climb in Providence presented by Amica Insurance is slated for this coming Saturday, February 27, at the Omni Providence Hotel in downtown Providence. Among the more than 500 participants who will be climbing the building’s 348 steps to help raise money to fight lung disease will be Robert Sims, an engineer from Northbridge, Massachusetts, who is a three-year event veteran.  Sims has been training for the last few months in hopes of meeting four key goals he has set for himself: to be in the top half of finishers in his age group; to pass three climbers in the stairwell; to not get passed by any other climbers while on the stairwell; and to be among the top 10 in terms of individual fundraising.  He’s confident that this will be the year he meets all four of his goals.

Robert Sims“The number one reason I climb in this event is for those who cannot,” says Sims, who has friends and family members that have been affected by lung issues. “My stepdad died from COPD and a friend of mine from high school has cystic fibrosis. Another friend had a double lung transplant. There’s so many people I know affected by lung disease that it’s become especially important for me to help raise awareness and to give back.  Setting goals for myself helps keep me on track and helps ensure that I am doing my very best both physically and in terms of fundraising.”

Goal setting is nothing new to Sims.  Back in 2013, he noticed that he had gained some weight and started a strict training regimen to take the weight off.  He began by walking and changing his diet.  As his body got stronger, he began running and then participating in competitive events like the Fight For Air Climb and the Highland Games. His self-designed program worked enabling him to lose 40 lbs. in 54 weeks. 

Over the last two months, Sims says he has climbed the stairwell in his four-story office building 223 times, logging a total of almost 14,000 steps. On average, he’s completed 360 steps every weekday.  This year, Sims says he is most focused on speed and has been practicing the steps while carrying two kettle bells.  In addition to the training he’s done on the stairs, Sims estimates that during the last two months he also logged about 20 miles running, done about 2 hours of planks, and done between 400-500 push-ups, consisting of a mixture of traditional push-ups, one-handed pushups, clapping push-ups and push-ups done at an incline.

“I’m a competitive person and I take this event very seriously both in terms of training and in terms of fundraising,” says Sims.  “When I see the survivors of lung disease at the event that really hits home for me. It reminds me why I am doing this and it motivates me to do my best. I ask all my donors to give me a list of people that they would like included in a personal pre-race prayer that I do and I carry the list with me while I run.”

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 Lung Association is committed to defeating lung cancer and achieving its vision of a world free of lung disease. Funds raised at the Fight for Air Climb will support these efforts.

“It is really inspiring to meet people like Robert Sims at our Fight For Air Climbs who are so committed to helping us achieve our vision of a world free of lung disease,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “While this is an incredibly fun event to take part in, it’s also an incredibly important event because the funds we raise are so vital to us carrying out our mission. We are grateful not just to all our participants, but to everyone who donates to make the event the success that it is.”

The 2016 Fight for Air Climb Providence presented by Amica Insurance hopes to raise $238,000 to support the American Lung Association’s mission.  The event is also generously sponsored by Omni Hotels & Resorts, WJAR NBC 10, iHeartMedia, Inc., Union Station Brewery, MetLife, Absolute Respiratory Care, Coastline EMS, A Tranquil Solution, Fidelity, Genentech, IGT, Ice River Springs and Nadeau Corporation. The event will kick off at 8:30 am on Saturday, February 27 at the Omni Providence Hotel. An after-party and awards ceremony will be held at Union Station Brewery, 36 Exchange Terrace in Providence, immediately following the event.

To register, become involved in the Fight for Air Climb: Providence presented by Amica Insurance or to make a donation to help save lives, visit Day of event registration will be available on site on February 27 beginning at 7:30 a.m. at the Omni Providence Hotel.  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 Cori Dubie-O’Connor, at [email protected] or 401-533-5171.

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