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LUNG FORCE Heroes

Kelly H.

LUNG FORCE Hero Kelly H.

I am a LUNG FORCE Hero for my Pap Pap. BY, Boss Hogg, Poppy, Dad, Bob, Uncle Bob, he had many names and nicknames, and he had one for most people he met.

Pap Pap struggled with lung issues for as long as I can remember. COPD, emphysema, lung cancer were no strangers to him or our family. He was a smoker in his younger years, but he quit after it was too late.

He struggled daily to breathe, on oxygen for his last few years. 

After he passed, my family organized a Fight For Air Climb team in Pittsburgh called How Nice - based on one of Pap's favorite jokes. He would often say "how nice" in response to something someone told him because of this joke. And it has now become our family motto of sorts.

He always had a joke or a song for you. It got to the point where he would tell me something and I would just look at him waiting for the punch line...even when he was being serious.

It's pretty comforting to me knowing that we are climbing 36 flights of stairs; 3-6 seems to be our number. We lost him on March 6th of 2018. He passed right around 3:06 in the afternoon, and now we climb those 36 flights.

Whenever we miss him, which is often, we say we're having a 3-6 moment. They can just be a simple memory or something that hits us hard. Those 3-6 moments are ours.

I know that my children were blessed to know their Poppy. They not only met him, they had a relationship with him. They were his Pride & Joy, he nicknamed them at birth. And, because they saw his struggle, his oxygen tank, and his cane (which he was unafraid to use to get his point across) they will have their own 3-6 moments for life. And, if those moments are what prevents them from smoking, or making bad lung choices, then I call that a winning 3-6 moment.

Last year at the Climb, I was so concerned with how my body would hold out; 36 flights and trying to make a good time...that's a lot. But, it wasn't my legs or my muscles that hurt. It was my lungs. I was out of breath for a long time after the climb, it hurt to breathe in, it hurt for days after.

I cannot imagine what that must feel like for those with lung disease on a daily basis.

SO, that is why I climb. Why Team How Nice climbs. We climb for our gift of good lungs!

As all of the climbers make their way up the JLL Center at Tower Two-Sixty building steps, I hope they all have their own 3-6 moments.

And...if you catch me off-air or in private...I'll tell you the “How Nice” joke too! It's been passed down to me to carry on!

First published: March 7, 2019

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Hero stories are the point of view of the Hero and not necessarily the American Lung Association. The Lung Association does not endorse any specific provider, facility or treatment.

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