Local Group of OHCA Employees to Climb UCO’s Wantland Stadium for a Healthier Oklahoma

Oklahoma Health Care Authority joins first-ever outdoor stair climb to raise research funds, awareness for lung disease, COVID-19

For a second consecutive year dozens of employees from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA), the government agency that administers Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, will support the community by participating in the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb. 

The event typically takes place in the stairwells of Valliance Tower but was reimagined as an outdoor climb challenge, due to COVID-19, and will now be held at Wantland Stadium, home of the University of Central Oklahoma Bronchos, on May 1. 

Team OHCA was formed last year when an employee wanted to give back and shared the idea with colleagues. The team had almost 40 climbers. Kaitlyn Wood, a research analyst at OHCA, joined the office effort and was so impressed with the cause, the event and the local impact that she got more involved in the organization. 

“OHCA provides health insurance benefits to Oklahoma's most vulnerable individuals. We are always looking for ways to go above and beyond our work lives and make an impact for our state and Oklahomans outside of our work,” said Wood. “It is easy for us to connect to a cause like the Lung Association that is close to our mission of helping vulnerable Oklahomans have access to medical services.”

Wood climbs in honor of her grandmother, who suffers from COPD, severe asthma and is now on oxygen 100 percent of the time. 

Last year the team raised almost $6,000 and they’re looking to continue to raise funding to support the work of the Lung Association. 

“We are very passionate about the work of the Lung Association and the research and education they provide. Research is so important to find out new ways to treat COVID-19 or any other lung disease. Education is important because people don't know, and a lot of times can be misinformed by other sources of information. The more efforts we can put into research and education, the better chance we have on making an impact to improve outcomes for lung disease for Oklahomans and across the nation,” she said.

Team OHCA is looking forward to being outside for the Climb, raise funding and awareness.

“We’re excited about climbing outdoors! The fresh air while climbing will be a change of pace compared to a stairwell,” she said.

The Lung Association invites individuals, families, groups of friends, corporate teams and first responders to tackle the stadium stairs, totaling almost 800 steps.

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. The COVID-19 Action Initiative is 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/Oklahoma City.

For more information, contact:

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

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