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Video: Local Firefighters Climb Accenture Tower Steps for American Lung Association

Golden Valley Firefighters took part in the 2011 Fight for Air Climb, and raised nearly $10,000 to fund research for asthma, lung cancer and other lung diseases that affect firefighters.

Saturday morning at the Accenture Tower in Downtown Minneapolis, 150 firefighters from 36 Minnesota fire departments gathered for the 7th Annual Fight for Air Climb.

"It's one of the signature fundraising events for the American Lung Association," said Maura Studer, director of development for the American Lung Association. "It's a great fundraising opportunity and it's a great way to bring the community together with the fire department."

The event is a fundraising opportunity geared toward fitness as well.

The goal is for the firefighters to climb 30 floors (660 steps), wearing full gear, which generally weighs about 60 pounds. 

"Give a firefighter a challenge and we take it," said Lt. Colleen Elvin of the Apple Valley Fire Dept.

However, some firefighters admit they were more prepared for the climb than others.

"Our training usually starts around [the] October to November time frame," said Steve Baker of the Golden Valley Fire Dept

St. Louis Park firefighters say they weren't quite as dedicated to training for the event as they were in Golden Valley.

"I run everyday, so I think that's all the preparation we've done," said Nancy Schmelzle of the St. Louis Park Fire Dept. 

Schmelzle went on to say that she participated in last year's event and was the second overall female finisher, with a time of 7.5 minutes.

As for Saturday's event, those who trudged up the 660 steps felt the effects once they finished their ascent.

"I'm good. A little winded," said Lt. Elvin of Apple Valley Fire once she finished her climb. "A lot of sore butt muscles, but I'm really glad to be here."

"You sweat a lot, even though it's only seven minutes," Schmelzle said once she completed her climb.

Each of the participants were timed on how long it took them to climb the 30 floors, yet the number that mattered most to those gathered at the Accenture Tower was: $130,000, the amount of money collected for the American Lung Association.

"I feel like I worked hard," Baker said. "Our team worked hard. We raised some money today."

Travis Michael February 28, 2011 at 09:42 PM
This is an impressive fundraiser. Many people are unaware that lung cancer can be caused by things other than smoking. Genetic predisposition or environmental exposure to radon gas or asbestos fibers have also been linked to lung cancer. Asbestos exposure in particular is extremely dangerous as it has also been linked to asbestosis, mesothelioma and a litany of other diseases. Fundraising is crucial to fight lung cancer and help find a cure. Regards, TM http://www.mesorc.com/
Bob Moffitt February 28, 2011 at 09:52 PM
Travis is right, about 10% of people with lung cancer are nonsmokers. Besides smoking, and exposure to secondhand smoke, radon is considered the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer. The risks caused by asbestos fibers is also well-known and researched. We need to keep looking for treaments and ways to prevent all lung diseases, but especially lung cancer. Thanks, Travis!

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