Atlanta Woman to Climb 1,600 Steps in Memory of her Stepfather Who Died from Lung Disease

On May 15, Atlanta resident Leah Fischer will climb more than 1,600 steps at Truist Park in memory of her stepfather who died from lung disease as a part of the American Lung Association in Georgia’s Fight For Air Climb.

In 2007, Fischer’s stepfather began having chest pains. The doctors thought it was associated with a heart condition, but when he developed shortness of breath a year later, they did more tests. A few months later, he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a disease that causes scarring of the lungs. Doctors believed that he had been living with it for over two years. Then in 2009, doctors found lung cancer, which exacerbated the pulmonary fibrosis.

“Through all of this, for as long as he could, he carried his portable oxygen tank to continue living – a trip to Buenos Aires, to the gym to ride the recumbent bike, and to my doctoral graduation,” said Fischer.

In December 2009, her stepfather passed away from pulmonary fibrosis. Soon after, she discovered the Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb. 

“After learning about the Fight for Air Climb, I became interested and motivated to participate to honor the memory of my stepfather,” she said. “I had never climbed stairs competitively or fundraised for anything but wanted to do something new and was up for the challenge.”

On May 15, Fischer will participate in her 9th Fight For Air Climb, but the event will look a little different this year. The event typically takes place in the stairwells of Peachtree Tower but was reimagined as an outdoor climb for the safety of participants, volunteers and staff. For the event, Fischer will join hundreds of other Georgia residents to tackle 1,629 stairs throughout Truist Park.

“What is more fundamental for life than breathing? Watching a living being struggle with breathing is painful,” she said. “The Fight for Air Climb is important to me, not only because of my personal connection, or love of stair climbing, but because I want to help support an organization with a mission focused on lung health.”

Registration for the event is $35 and includes a $100 fundraising minimum. For more information, and to register, visit

Your safety is always our number one priority. We are continually monitoring local conditions that might affect your Climb. Check your local Climb website for the most up-to-date information.

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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