JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Hundreds of participants accepted the challenge Saturday and climbed 1,600 stairs at TIAA Bank Field during the 14th annual Fight For Air Climb.
One by one, participants entered TIAA bank field. Many like Morgan Henderson have a personal connection to the event.
“So Autumn she was born with Congenital lobar emphysema. So she had her left lung removed at 2 months old. So we climbed today for her," Morgan Henderson, a participant, said.
Over 300 people completed the 'Fight for Air Climb', including Chris Gonzalez.
“I’ve been doing this for 7 years now and I got involved because my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. And this was just a perfect way for me to continue fighting alongside him and continue to work and feel like I am doing something to help support him and those in the community as well," Chris Gonzalez, a board member with the American Lung Association, said.
The event is held through the American Lung Association with the mission of combating lung disease and lung cancer. It’s a change from the stairs of the Bank of America tower where it was held for the first 12 years.
All athletic levels participated today from racers who will try to get to the top as fast as possible, to first-timers who can set their own pace as they make the journey. There were many community groups, including over 30 members of the Jacksonville Fire Association who finished the course in full gear.
“It’s a great cause helping our brothers and sisters, supporting them. Cancer is on the rise, especially within the fire department. So we try to do this to help where we can," Justin Wilford, a JFRD member, said.
The money raised will go toward the American Lung Association’s clean air efforts and respiratory viruses research.
This is the 6th year for Jeremy LaTraverse who is one of the top fundraising participants, this year raising over 48-hundred-dollars on his own.
“The reason I do it personally is my grandfather-in-law, he was a captain in the air force, died of stage four lung cancer. And then my mom is actually 13 years smoke-free now. So I do it in honor of them," Jeremy LaTraverse, a firefighter/EMT with the Kingsland Fire Rescue, said.
The event raised $112,000 for the American Lung Association’s mission of combating lung disease and lung cancer.