Mel’s High Steppers Climb Exploria Stadium to Honor Friend Lost to Lung Cancer

Each year for the past six years, Mel’s High Steppers would tackle the stairs for the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb led by lung cancer warrior Melinda (Mel) Brody. On March 27, the team will be climbing without her for the first time to honor her legacy after she lost her battle with lung cancer in 2019. 

Brody was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015 and had two thirds of her lung removed. For the last five years of her life, she traveled the world and lived life to the fullest. Less than a year after her surgery, she started a team and climbed in the Orlando Fight For Air Climb.

“Mel was full of life. She was bigger than life. She was an inspiration to so many people. She owned her own business, and she was a renowned speaker,” said Nancy Holman, long-time friend and Fight For Air Climb teammate of Brody’s. “She is one of only a handful of lung cancer survivors who could climb, and she finished. Every year since then, we all climbed with her.”

For Holman, the Fight For Air Climb also became important motivation for her to improve her fitness.

“The Fight For Air Climb is important to me, because back in 2016 I climbed with Mel, and I couldn’t keep up with her. She was in pretty decent shape, but it was a huge wake up call for me,” said Holman. “Right after the climb, I joined a gym and now I run and do stair stepping. Since then, I have cut my Fight For Air Climb time in half.” 

This year, the Fight For Air Climb has moved outdoors to Exploria Stadium for the safety of participants, staff and volunteers. Holman is excited for the new challenge, but more importantly, she is climbing in memory of Brody and to raise awareness for lung cancer. 

“Mel was a huge supporter of the American Lung Association, and the importance of lung cancer research. She lived a great life for five years with lung cancer. She said it was because of the medications she was on. That is what kept her alive and why it is so important that the research continues,” said Holman. “She would want for others who get lung cancer to have new medications, and for people to fight it and beat it.”

The Fight For Air Climb is on March 27 at Exploria Stadium. Registration is $35 and includes a $100 fundraising minimum. For more information, and to register, visit

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.

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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