American Lung Association’s 10th Annual Fight for Air Climb Buffalo Goes Virtual

Virtual Fundraiser to Support COVID-19 Initiative

For the first time in its 10 year history, the Fight for Air Climb Buffalo hosted by the American Lung Association, will be held virtually. By shifting from a physical event to one held online, the organization will reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 and remain in observance of Center for Disease Control (CDC) and state recommended guidelines. Effective immediately, participants from throughout the Western New York region —and around the country—will be able to register, track their own progress and complete goals for the Fight For Air Climb while remaining active within their own home or community.

“The Fight For Air Climb Buffalo is a beloved event for our team and for many in the Western New York City community—but our top priority is always the health of our participants, volunteers and staff. For that reason, we’ve made the difficult decision to shift this year’s event to a virtual one,” said development director for the American Lung Association in Buffalo, Kaelyn Gates. “While COVID-19 may have changed our event plan, it has also strengthened our resolve to act as a community and defend the right and ability for everyone to breathe freely. We thank our participants and lung health community for working with us as committed partners to prevent lung disease, including COVID-19 through our new $25 million COVID-19 Action Initiative and other vital lung health research that saves lives.”

The event’s Official Health Sponsor, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, also offered encouragement to climbers. Vice President, Chief Information Officer Bob Ruocco, said, “BlueCross BlueShield is proud to support the American Lung Association’s Virtual Fight for Air Climb. Although the format of this year’s event is different, the cause is still as important than ever. As a proud board member of the American Lung Association Buffalo and Northeast, I climb for my mother and all those who have been impacted. I encourage the community to climb with us to help defeat lung disease and cancer.”

The 10th anniversary of the Fight For Air Climb was scheduled for March 21, 2020 at Main Place Tower in downtown Buffalo. As a virtual event, organizers have developed new ways for people to participate virtually now through July 11. Participants are tasked with staying active and choosing a challenge including climbing, running, walking or riding.  Civilian climbers will join the Fight For Air Climb Buffalo club on Strava, while local firefighters are expected to join the Fight For Air Climb Buffalo’s – Robert Basil Cadillac Firefighter Challenge Club — a separate Strava Club just for firefighter participants—who will complete activities with 50lbs of equipment on. Activity tracked on Strava will correspond with the official online leaderboard, retaining a sense of friendly competition for which the event is often known. The top ten overall winners of the Strava Competition will be announced on July 11, 2020. All are welcomed to join the Fight For Air Climb Facebook group to share milestones, stories and inspirations, as well as utilize the official hashtags: #FightForAirClimb, #EveryStepCounts, #ClimbAgainstCOVID, and #BufClimb.

The Lung Association will allow participants to choose a virtual bib number, and provide a printable certificate upon completion. The Lung Association has also provided a list of “Climb Tools” which includes a link to suggested local trails and parks in Erie County for participants to use, pending state and local guidelines on public spaces and crowds.

In 2019, the Fight For Air Climb Buffalo attracted over 500 people to walk or run up the 24 flights of stairs, or 470 steps, to the top of Main Place Tower. Climbers included firefighters from throughout the Western New York area who climb during the “Firefighter Challenge” wearing full firefighter gear, weighing up to 50 lbs. The Fight For Air Climb Buffalo is one of a series of American Lung Association signature fundraising events across the country, all of which have now gone virtual due to COVID-19 safety precautions.

Registration for the virtual event is $10 and participants are asked to raise $100 or more. Participants raising over $100 may be eligible for a t-shirt, incentive prize, social media mentions and more. The event aims to raise over $180,000 for the Lung Association’s mission, to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease including its work to address COVID-19. Those who registered for the event prior to the virtual announcement will get complimentary registration for the 2021 Climb.

For more information on the Fight For Air Climb Buffalo visit For more information on the American Lung Association’s work on COVID-19, and the COVID-19 Action Initiative, visit   

For more information, contact:

Jennifer Solomon
(516) 680-8927
[email protected]

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