ORLANDO, FL | February 17, 2021
Just three years ago, Sanford resident Dale Turner could barely walk 10 feet without having to stop and catch his breath. Thanks to a double lung transplant, on March 27 he will climb 1,000 stairs of Exploria Stadium at the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb.
Turner’s breathing issues began in 2014. He was on vacation in Costa Rica when he really struggled to catch his breath during an outdoor excursion. Over the next several years, he noticed he would get out of breath more frequently. Finally, in 2018, he visited a pulmonologist. After running a pulse oximetry test, which measures a person’s oxygen saturation in their blood, the doctor sent him straight to the emergency room. He spent four days there as doctors ran tests.
“The doctor came into the room, and said that they were letting me go, but I would have to be on oxygen,” said Turner. “They also told us that I needed to explore having a double lung transplant. That floored us.”
After absorbing that information and trying several holistic options to repair his lungs, he got on the transplant list. In just 3 ½ weeks, he got the call on October 31, 2018 that his lungs were ready. On November 1, he received a new set of lungs.
“I recovered relatively well thanks to the doctors and nurses at AdventHealth,” he said. “I was in the hospital for just 12 days. For probably about a week, it felt strange to breathe. It felt like the lungs weren’t mine. I almost had to learn to walk again. The first time I stood up, it wasn’t a natural thing to walk. It was very strange.”
Shortly after the lung transplant, Turner heard about the Fight For Air Climb and signed up. In March 2019, just four months after his lung transplant, he climbed 512 steps of the City National Bank Building in Orlando.
“I was terrified. There were a lot of stairs, but I thought that if I don’t make it, then I will just go down the elevator. I did it in about 17 minutes and I absolutely loved it. I loved everything about it,” he said.
This year, the Fight For Air Climb moved outdoors to Exploria Stadium for the safety of participants, staff and volunteers. On March 27, Turner will climb 1,000 steps to raise awareness for lung health, which is especially important as the world contends with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Lung health is very important to me. I think it can be one of those hidden diseases. People don’t see or appreciate what you are going through. Especially now with COVID-19, I think we really need to get the word out about taking care of your lungs. Breathing is something we really take for granted. It is such a natural thing, until something goes wrong, and you can’t breathe, people don’t realize what a gift breathing is,” Turner said. “I also am doing this climb in honor of my donor and their family.”
The Fight For Air Climb will take place at Exploria Stadium on March 27. Registration is $35 and includes a $100 fundraising minimum. For more information, and to register, visit FightForAirClimb.org/Orlando.
Your safety is always our number one priority. We are continually monitoring local conditions that might affect your Climb. Check your local Climb website for the most up-to-date information.
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, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is 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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