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Running Up Skyscrapers to Fight Lung Disease: St. Louis Firefighters Gear Up with 60 Pounds to Climb Metropolitan Square

(February 26, 2019) - ST. LOUIS

For more information please contact:

Jill Thompson
[email protected]

Every day, firefighters climb stairs to save people from fires and medical emergencies. To help train, but also to support the people they see every day who suffer from lung disease, firefighters like St. Louis Fire Department’s Frank Abohamde and his teammates Josh Phillips and Jennifer Petranek participate in the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb at Metropolitan Square.

The three started doing stair climbs in 2013 as a way to stay fit for their jobs. Each year, the group participates in two stair climbs in full gear -- including personal protective equipment, boots, and air tank -- which adds 50-60 pounds of gear.

“[Participating in the stair climbs] keeps you on edge. We are always training. It’s tough, but I think we are addicted to the pain,” Abohamde laughed.

Many firefighters have more personal reasons for climbing. Abohamde climbs to support the adults and children that he sees everyday who suffer from lung disease.

“We see people struggling everyday just to do the simple act of breathing,” said Abohamde. “Daily, we go on calls to help people with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema and other lung diseases. Doing the Fight For Air Climb is another way of being thankful for being able to breathe on our own. People take it for granted.”

The Fight For Air Climb at Metropolitan Square will be the team’s sixth time competing in the event.

The event, happening on March 30 invites individuals, families, groups of friends, corporate teams and first responders to race up the stairs of the tallest building in St. Louis, Metropolitan Square (40 floors, 856 steps), to raise awareness and money to fight lung disease. Registration for the 2019 Fight For Air Climb is currently open online or by calling 314-627-1025.


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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