Company Gives Indianapolis Woman a Way to Memorialize Father Lost to Lung Disease

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Indiana (Anthem), a leading health insurance company, supports the Indianapolis community and encourages its employees to get involved by sponsoring the Fight For Air Climb at Salesforce Tower, set for March 7.

Leigh Barrett, Director in External Regulatory Reporting at Anthem, participates in the Fight For Air Climb to memorialize her father, who died of pulmonary fibrosis.

In 2015, Leigh’s father started experiencing shortness of breath. His doctor treated him for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In 2016, when medications for COPD did not work, the doctors did more tests, which revealed he had pulmonary fibrosis. He was put on supplemental oxygen.

“He progressively got weaker and more frail. He had a bad cold and ended up falling in March 2019. After that, he went into in-home hospice. He was at end stage of the disease.,” said Barrett. “From March until October 2019 was the most eye-opening part of the disease. It is literally one of the hardest things I have ever watched.”

He passed away on October 23, 2019 at 73 years old.

Leigh first heard about the Fight For Air Climb in 2017 through the Anthem team captain just after her father was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.

“My dad’s diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis left me feeling very helpless. There was nothing that I could do for him that was going to change his outcome,” she said. “Participating in the Fight For Air Climb and raising money for the American Lung Association helped me to feel empowered and like I was making a difference…even if not for the benefit of my dad, but for someone else.”

On March 7, Leigh will participate in her 5th Fight For Air Climb. She is able to do this with support from Anthem. The company encourages employees to become involved in the community.

“One of Anthem’s values is community and they encourage us to be committed, connected and invested,” said Barrett. “One way that I can make a difference in the lives of our members is to support and serve organizations who are focused on the health and wellbeing of our members and our community – like the American Lung Association.”

Last year, more than 70 Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield employees participated in the Fight For Air Climb, and the team raised more than $25,000 to fund lifesaving lung cancer research and critical local programs to help people who live with lung disease and lung cancer.

The American Lung Association in Indiana’s Fight For Air Climb, set for March 7, invites individuals, families, groups of friends, corporate teams and first responders to race up the stairs of Salesforce Tower, a total of 47 floors, 1,054 steps. The event raises awareness for lung disease, raises money for life-saving research, and funds critical educational programs to help local children manage their asthma and help locals quit smoking. To learn more, visit FightForAirClimb.org/Indianapolis.


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: Lung.org.

ABOUT ANTHEM BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD:
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield works with the state of Indiana to offer the Hoosier Healthwise (HHW), Hoosier Care Connect (HCC) and Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) health insurance programs for 435,000 Medicaid beneficiaries. HHW is a health care program for children up to age 19 and pregnant women that covers medical care like doctor visits, prescription medicine, mental health care, dental care, hospitalizations, and surgeries. HCC offers individuals who are aged 65 years and older, blind, or disabled and who are also not eligible for Medicare health plans that provide the most appropriate care based upon individualized needs. HIP covers residents age 19 through 64 including low-income families. Anthem has administered benefits and services for HHW since 2007, HCC since 2015 and HIP since 2008.

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