Three Generations of an Iowa Family to Participate in Fight For Air Climb

The Routson Family is Climbing Together to Fight Lung Disease

Three generations of the Routson/Kiester family will be climbing together at the Des Moines Fight For Air Climb, locally presented by EMC Insurance, on April 7th. The family will be participating together as Team “Climbing for Jerry” to honor Jerry Kiester, team captain Kyla Routson’s father, who passed away from COPD in 2019. The team will include Routson’s mother, her three children and her husband.

Routson originally learned about the Fight For Air Climb through her husband, a local deputy fire chief, who had been doing the Climb for years. After the passing of her father, Routson was looking for a way to get involved in advocating for lung health and decided to join the climb to raise funds for the cause.

“I was looking for an actionable way to channel my grief into something good,” said Routson. “My father told me his only regret in life was that he ever started smoking. I began participating in the Climb because so many facets of the American Lung Association’s mission resonated with me.”  Routson also joined the American Lung Association in Iowa’s Local Leadership Board in 2020 and currently serves as the Vice Chair.

Other members of Team “Climbing for Jerry” are just as passionate about fighting for lung health. Lois Kiester, Routson’s mother said, “having lived with a family member who had COPD, another relative who suffered with emphysema, & a granddaughter who has asthma, I feel strongly that the education and research the climb funds is important in the fight to end lung disease.”

Lois was inspired to do the climb after she watched her grandchildren participate in the event. “I’ve always known that the climb was a worthy cause,” she said. “After my grandkids participated at Principal Park, my daughter challenged me to do it, saying if the kids could do it, so could I. So, the challenge was on.”

Unlike other climbs across the country, Iowa’s event features a four-building climb in downtown Des Moines. The Routson family and other participants will climb a total of 85 floors and 1,796 steps. However, the youngest participants of the team, eleven-year-old Paige, ten-year-old Lucas and six-year-old Abbey aren’t daunted by the challenge.

“It’s important to me that we participate as a family in honor of my grandpa,” said Paige.

Funds raised by Team “Climbing for Jerry” will fund local smoking cessation programs, clean air initiatives and lung health advocacy. The programs will support the more than 375,000 individuals in Iowa living with a chronic lung disease such as COPD. The Fight For Air Climb is open to everyone from professional stair climbing teams to beginners.

To register and learn more about The Fight For Air Climb in Des Moines, and get involved with the American Lung Association’s Mission, visit  FightForAirClimb/

Kyla Routson is available for interviews about the Climb, and you can contact Janye Killelea with requests at [email protected] or by phone at 312-940-7624.


For more information, contact:

Janye Killelea
[email protected]

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