DENVER, CO | April 6, 2021
Damian Solorzano lost his father, John Solorzano, from COVID-19 while his wife, daughter and himself were fortunate to beat the virus. Now he plans to climb with his team in the American Lung Association’s outdoor Fight For Air Climb, presented by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, in memory of his dad and raise money to end lung disease and COVID-19.
“My dad had a combination of severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF),” Solorzano said. “He was oxygen dependent the last 12-15 years of his life.”
Solorzano worked directly with COVID-19 patients at Denver Health and St. Josephs as a Respiratory Therapist, seeing firsthand the two patient groups heavily impacted during the pandemic. He is now working as a specialist for Masimo providing technology for hospitals caring for COVID-19 patients.
“Every single one of my patients had a Spanish surname, or suffered from obesity,” he said. “It hit home because they looked like my aunts, uncles and cousins. I used to be obese and have a Spanish surname.”
A couple of years ago Solorzano lost 75 pounds and has participated in Fight For Air Climb multiple times.
“Moving and being active are important to me,” he said. “I want to continue to partner with the community, support a great cause and promote healthiness.”
Solorzano and his team, Colorado Society for Respiratory Care, hopes to surpass their fundraising goals this year and look forward to being outside for the climb.
“We think it’s great idea to host the event at Coors Field due to the circumstances. We’re just glad that there’s an event in which to participate. We definitely look forward to having some sunlight and fresh air during the Climb,” he said.
The American Lung Association invites individuals, families, groups of friends, corporate teams and first responders to the 2021 Fight For Air Climb at Coors Field on May 8. The organization is also offering a “Climb Your Way” option for those who can’t make it to the physical event.
Masks will be required at the event and social distancing will be practiced. The safety of participants, staff and volunteers is always our number one priority, so we are continually monitoring local conditions that might affect the Climb. Everyone is encouraged to check our Climb website for the most up-to-date information leading up to the event.
Money raised at the Fight For Air Climb will fund the Lung Association’s efforts to end lung cancer and lung disease, as well as support the Lung Association’s COVID-19 Action Initiative, a $25 million investment to address COVID-19 and protect against future respiratory virus pandemics.
Registration for the Fight For Air Climb is $35 and includes a $100 fundraising minimum. For more information, and to register, visit FightForAirClimb.org/Denver.
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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