Fight for Air Climb benefits American Lung Association

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicagoans put their lungs to the test Sunday morning for the American Lung Association's "Fight for Air" Climb.

"I'm excited, 90 percent excited, 10 percent nervous," said climber Mike Telesky. "But I understand there are firefighters here, so I think I'll be ok. I'll stick close to the firefighters if I can."

Telesky figures that for two decades he supported the tobacco companies by smoking, so this is his way of giving back to a better cause and he wasn't alone.

Participants stepped up for the biggest stair climb in the city, four towers and more than 2,000 steps at Presidential Towers.

The number of people who lose their life to lung cancer, 160,000 individuals every year, is more than breast, colon and pancreatic cancer combined.

"It's amazing how many people come out," said James Martinez, American Lung Association. "Almost 2,000 people come out every year and it grows and grows and grows."

Martinez believes many people think only smokers get lung cancer, so funding for research isn't as readily available. He said 30 percent of people diagnosed haven't smoked a day in their life.

The feeling of accomplishment is one thing and the money raised stays local. Ninety cents of every dollar goes directly to research, advocacy and education.

Visit for info on next year's Fight for Air Climb at Oakbrook or Presidential Towers; or visit to volunteer or donate.
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