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Hundreds to climb stairs in 55-story office tower for charity

Six hundred people are expected for the seventh annual Fight for Air Climb Miami on Saturday.

By Rodolfo Roman
Special to The Miami Herald
Joined by family and friends, West Palm Beach resident Richard Green will be traveling south to climb more than 50 flights of stairs.

But it won’t be for an exercise session. Instead Green, who has been diagnosed with lung cancer, will join more than 600 people for the seventh annual Fight For Air Climb Miami to benefit the American Lung Association at Southeast Financial Center, 200 S. Biscayne Blvd. on Saturday. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. with the climb beginning at 8:30 a.m.

For Green, it is a way to show his appreciation towards those who have helped him battle his disease.

“I’ve had so much help from several groups, so I try and do something to give back to them,” he said in a phone interview. “This gives a chance for people who have cancer to feel good about themselves.”

Because of his illness, Green plans on climbing about five flights of stairs as his remaining team members will help finish off the race for him. So far, he has a little more than six teammates, but hopes to recruit more.

“The climb serves as a reminder and often an awakening, as to how important it is to have healthy lungs,” Dana Filetti, Area Development Coordinator American Lung Association in Florida, wrote in an e-mail.

Registration is $25 until the week of the event, when the registration fee is raised to $35. Registered participants all receive event t-shirts, towels, and participation medals. All participants are also required to raise a minimum of $100 and are rewarded with numerous options of incentive prizes that they can order after the event based on the amount of money they raise. The event is open for individual and team climbing. All teams must have a minimum of three participants.

Climbers will compete against other participants in their age and gender categories for the best time. Participants will climb in 30 second intervals to avoid congestion in the stairwell. They will climb 54 of the building’s 55 stories, skipping the top floor due to construction.

The money raised by the American Lung Association in Florida stays local, and helps us fund lung health programs like our Better Breather’s Clubs as well as Asthma Education and Smoking Cessation programs in local schools, according to the group.

Last year, the event raised $98,000. This year’s goal is $101,000 said Filetti.

The American Lung Association was founded in 1916. According to the organization, lung cancer is the leading cancer killer among men and women in the country. It is estimated that there will be more than 215,000 new cases of lung cancer this year.

There will be a post-party after the climbing at the building’s newly renovated courtyard featuring food and drinks along with live music and giveaways.

The mission of the organization is to help save lives and sends a message said Filetti.

“It is important to keep lung health, and clean-air laws a priority with local legislation in order to reduce for example lung cancer caused by second-hand smoke!” Filetti wrote.

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