TAMPA, FL | April 7, 2021
By the time Tampa Joseph Mannino’s father was diagnosed with lung cancer, it had already spread and he passed away within a month and a half. To honor his father and raise awareness for lung cancer, Mannino will climb nearly 1,000 stairs in Raymond James Stadium on April 18 for the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb.
Mannino’s father, Vito Salvatore Mannino, smoked for many years, but when he went to the doctor for back pain, he didn’t suspect anything serious because he regularly worked outside. After some tests, he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Just a month and a half after his diagnosis, Mannino’s father passed away on November 9, 2006.
“As soon as we knew about the lung cancer, it was too late. It was very fast,” he said.
Several years later, Mannino and his wife began a weight loss and health journey. They started signing up for 5Ks, 10Ks and obstacle course races, and discovered the Fight For Air Climb at Bank of America Tower.
“The registration questionnaire got me thinking. It asked, ‘how has cancer affected you?’ I was ready to pass it, and I stopped. Then it asked, ‘will you be climbing in dedication to someone?’ It didn’t occur to me until I got to that point that I would be climbing with my father’s memory in mind,” said Mannino.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 forced the 2020 Fight For Air Climb to go virtual, so Mannino didn’t get a chance to climb the stairs of Bank of America Tower. On April 18, he is excited for the Fight For Air Climb to take place at Raymond James Stadium for the first time.
“I am motivated now more than ever to climb any challenge in honor of my father and his lost struggle with lung cancer,” he said. “If a son must continue the battles that their fathers began, I shall wage war against lung disease by any means necessary. I can’t save my dad, but I can help save someone else’s. It's both my honor and my legacy.”
The Fight For Air Climb is on April 18 at Raymond James Stadium. Registration is $35 and includes a $100 fundraising minimum. For more information, and to register, visit FightForAirClimb.org/Tampa.
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.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. 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: Lung.org.
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