Local Nurse Practitioner with Lung Cancer to Climb Hundreds of Stairs

Raise Funds for Lung Disease, COVID-19 Research

As a nurse for 23 years, then as a Nurse Practitioner for the last 19 years, Maria Steele's mission has always been centered around patient advocacy and education. After being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in late 2019, her mission’s purpose took new heights. Now she’s joining the American Lung Association’s outdoor Fight For Air Climb on May 15 at Principal Park to raise funds to end lung disease.

“I was told at my initial oncology visit that the average person lives a year, it has now been 16 months since that visit!” Steele said. “It took me 11 months to feel comfortable sharing my story as the last thing I wanted is for people to pity me and my situation,” 

Steele has seen firsthand the advances in lung cancer treatment within the past decade, motivating her to participate in her second consecutive Fight For Air Climb since her diagnosis. 

“I signed up for the climb in early 2020 just a few weeks after my diagnosis to help raise money for a great organization.” she said.

Recently, Steele had her home in Iowa checked for radon and found the levels were double the acceptable amount recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency. A key factor in her diagnosis according to Steele’s oncologist. 

“I appreciate everything the Lung Association is doing to end lung disease, however I’m passionate about educating people on the dangers of radon,” she said. “You can go to any hardware store and get an inexpensive radon test kit, check your home today!”

Maria and her husband Pat have been training on the bleachers at their local high school once a week and are looking forward to climbing outdoors with their friends and family.

The American Lung Association invites individuals, families, groups of friends, corporate teams and first responders to the 2021 Fight For Air Climb at Principal Park on May 15. The organization is also offering a “Climb Your Way” option for those who can’t make it to the physical event.
Social distancing will be practiced. We are following the newest CDC guidance, as you are outside you are able to pull your mask down while actively climbing and 6ft away from others. Participants, volunteers, and staff will be required to wear a face mask other than when you are actively climbing and 6ft away from others.

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 per person. For more information, and to register, visit FightForAirClimb.org/DesMoines.

For more information, contact:

James A. Martinez
(312) 445-2501
[email protected]

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