Climb to conquer lung disease

On Feb. 3, the Lung Association held its third annual Steeltown Stair Climb to raise money for lung disease research at local institutions such as McMaster University.

The building was filled with hundreds of people with different stories. Some firefighters were there to honour a co-worker with lung cancer, loved ones came to cheer on family members who were competing, and there were even award-winning stair climbers who travelled all the way from Mexico.

Over 100 people climbed the 103 m building in Hamilton, tackling 533 steps to reach the top. Some even dared to make the challenge harder by donning nearly 30 kg of firefighting equipment for the climb.

“This is my second year participating in the stair climb,” said Emily Waller, a pre-service firefighting student at Lambton College. “I plan on making it a yearly tradition and would highly recommend it to anyone looking to help a great cause.”

Individual medals and recognition plaques were awarded for the fastest times and the highest fundraising teams in the various categories.

Kyle Laforge and Emily Waller get ready to start the stair climb.

“We won a plaque for being the highest fundraising college team which I am super happy about,” said Waller. “They were also giving out medals for first-, second- and third-fastest male and female times in each division.”

Kyle Laforge, another pre-service firefighting student at Lambton, was on the same team as Waller and ended up receiving a medal of his own.

“I was awarded a medal for the third-fastest time out of all the pre-service students,” said Laforge.

But the biggest prize, he said, was being able to run the stairs in honour of his late grandfather. Laforge taped a photo of him to the inside of his helmet, reminding him that his grandfather was there every step of the way.

“I’m participating in the climb for my family. Four years ago on Feb. 2, my grandpa passed away from lung cancer,” explained Laforge. “As well, my grandma has been battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for the past several months. Lung disease is something my family has dealt with for a couple years now and I’ll do anything I can to partake in events such as this.”

Fund development coordinator Sandy Lee said this year’s event was a success as they raised $15,277 which will be directed towards research and programming.

“Keep Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 open on your calendar, as we are moving our event to be part of Lung Month,” said Lee. “What better way to celebrate it than to raise awareness and host an event that requires those lungs to work?”

For more information on the Ontario Lung Association, or to donate, visit its website

About the author  ⁄ Christina King

Christina is a third year Journalism Student at Mohawk College. She enjoys videography and wishes to advance her career in news reporting and freelance video editing. LinkedIn-

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