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It’s Personal: Air Fight for Air Climber reaches for new heights

Feb. 20, 2013

"Most of you probably think your mom is one of the strongest, most important people you know! I know I do!

My mom passed away on March 19, 2009 from COPD and emphysema. She had smoked since she was a young was a source of anger and frustration in our family. My dad did also, and though he managed to quit many years before my mom finally quit, he had COPD and emphysema as well. Sadly, on August 7, 2012, he also lost his fight to this hideous disease. So now, because of cigarettes and the resulting disease, my kids have lost two grandparents and I have lost my parents. It makes me mad, sad, and just sick at times.

My sister, daughter and I all struggle with asthma. My daughter and I have recently started doing some new things through our diets and have both been allergy and asthma medicine FREE since January 1 of 2012. It is very exciting but the asthma isn't gone. I can still see it start to flare because of things like weather, foods we eat, illness, or who knows what else. Much more research is needed to learn how to manage this disease without a lifetime of medicine.

So, as a tribute to my mom and dad and the wonderful life they gave me, I am doing this climb each year on the anniversary of her passing. Do it for anyone you know who has asthma, who smokes, who quit, who can't quit, who breathes…"

These words were written by Sussex resident Colleen Boehm. Colleen will be climbing to the top of the U.S. Bank Center in downtown Milwaukee in the 5th annual American Lung Association Fight For Air Climb on Saturday, March 23, 7:00am – noon. She’s doing it to honor her parents, and because she wants to demonstrate that no-one needs to let lung disease limit their living life to the fullest.

The Fight for Air Climb is a vertical race to climb 47 floors -- 1,034 steps! It’s a one-of-a-kind event, and it only happens once a year.

Registration is $25; a minimum $100 fundraising is required of all participants.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin has been the event’s Presenting Sponsor for five years.

The Climb is open to anyone age 13 and older; teams and individuals welcome. Timed intervals will be used to ease congestion and back-up on the stairs.

For those seeking an extreme athletic challenge, there is the Ultimate Challenge in which participants climb the steps as many times as they are able.

Proceeds raised at the event will support the Lung Association’s medical research, programs and advocacy efforts for lung cancer asthma, COPD, tobacco use and clean air.

For information, or to register, visit To support Colleen and her team “Strong Mamas” go to


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