Seven years ago, Cheryl Peterson (Jenkins) lost her brother to a heart attack, her sister was diagnosed with lung cancer, and her dad was fighting COPD, lung cancer and emphysema.
“It was heartbreaking,” she said.
That’s when she first heard about and participated in the Fight For Air Climb. She received an email about UnitedHealthcare, her employer, sponsoring the event. Seven years later, she’s the Chair of the event’s planning committee. For the seventh consecutive year, she’ll join her company and colleagues in the Fight For Air Climb at Soldier Field, presented by UnitedHealthcare, on June 19.
This year, she’ll climb to memorialize her sister and her dad, who both died from lung cancer.
“Watching them struggle to breath was very difficult to watch,” said Jenkins. “I climb to honor my sister and my dad and support those that struggle to breathe. I want to help the Lung Association find new treatments and a cure for lung cancer.”
It’s also the seventh consecutive year that the leading national health insurance company is sponsoring the event. Peterson is able to do this with support from UnitedHealthcare. The company encourages employees to become involved in the community and even rewards them for doing it.
“Our culture supports community service. UnitedHealth Group matches employees’ personal donations through the United Health Foundation,” she said. “In addition to that, if you track 30 volunteer hours each year, you can earn $500 to donate to the charities of your choice.”
In the seven years that the company has been involved with the organization, they have raised more than $200,000 to fund lifesaving lung cancer research and critical local programs to help people who live with lung disease and lung cancer.
“The Fight For Air Climb is a big part of my life. If there is a point that I can’t climb, I will do what I can to raise money for the Lung Association,” said Peterson. “I am proud to do whatever I can for the Lung Association. I just think it is a wonderful organization.”
The Fight For Air Climb is set for June 19, 2021. The event typically takes place in the stairwells of Presidential Towers in the West Loop but was reimagined as an outdoor climb challenge for the safety of participants, volunteers and staff. For the event, thousands of Illinois residents and people from across the country climb almost 2,000 steps inside Soldier Field to raise awareness and money to fight lung disease.
Registration for the Fight For Air Climb is $35 and includes a $150 fundraising minimum. For more information, and to register, visit FightForAirClimb.org/Chicago.
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 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.