Minnesota Battalion Chief Climbs Allianz Field in Honor of Fellow First Responders

Raises awareness, funding for lifesaving lung disease research in Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb

Ken Bence, Battalion Chief of the Golden Valley Fire Department, will climb thousands of steps in his 50-pound gear at the American Lung Association in Minnesota’s Fight For Air Climb at Allianz Field, home of the Minnesota United, on May 21, 2022. 

“As a paid-on-call firefighter, I love participating in the Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb year after year because I can raise awareness and money for those who suffer from lung disease. Unfortunately, many firefighters are at increased risk due to exposure to gases, chemicals and smoke,” Bence said. 

The mission of the Lung Association directly impacts firefighters. Respiratory diseases remain a significant health issue for firefighters and emergency responders. Firefighters are at a higher risk to develop chronic issues, including lingering cough, hoarseness, asthma, allergies, and in more extreme cases, may be diagnosed with lung or bronchial cancer.

“Firefighters like Ken are not only out there saving lives every day, they fundraise and participate in events like our Fight For Air Climb in their free time,” said Mindee Kastelic, chairwoman of the Lung Association’s Local Leadership Board. “We are amazed by their daily sacrifice and are honored that Ken, as well as so many other local heroes, participate in our event.”

Bence has participated with the Golden Valley Fire team a total of 14 times and has raised over $75,000. The team’s fundraising goal for this year’s Climb is $15,000.

The Fight For Air Climb attracts hundreds of climbers from across Minnesota who step up to increase awareness and funding to end lung disease through lifesaving research, local programs and advocacy. Participant options are available for every type of climber, including special categories for firefighters, corporate teams, and families. This year’s Climb will be a professionally timed event and will feature new and more challenging climb routes. The Lung Association is also offering a virtual option for those who cannot attend the event. 

For more information, and to register, visit FightForAirClimb.org/St.Paul

To purchase the Lung Association’s 2022 Firefighter Calendar honoring Bence, please visit: Lung.org/Calendar.

The Lung Association is committed to the health and safety of its participants and volunteers. The organization will continue to closely monitor public health conditions and CDC guidelines for COVID-19. Everyone is encouraged to check the Climb website for the most updated information leading up to the event. 

For more information, contact:

Dana Kauffman
[email protected]

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