Iowa is a relatively flat state, but on a recent Sunday morning in Des Moines, more than 600 people got plenty of elevation: They participated in the American Lung Association Fight for Air Climb, during which they climbed 66 floors of stairs in three downtown office buildings. Participants included a team of five DMU physician assistant students, with 11 more volunteering at the event along with PA Assistant Professor Laura Delaney.
According to Micki Sandquist, executive director of ALA in Iowa, Fight for Air raised $164,227, making it the organization’s biggest fundraiser.
Several PA students participated in the event for personal reasons. Climber Katrina Enderle, who worked with Assistant Professor Delaney to organize the DMU team, lost her grandmother last summer to lung cancer.
“I wanted to do it for her and her memory,” she says. “It was quite the challenge and really put things into perspective for me as far as how much we take the simple act of breathing for granted.”
PA student Katie Tacke volunteered at Fight for Air, encouraging and handing out water to the climbers and making sure they were okay from her post on the 21st floor of the Des Moines Marriott Downtown. “I was motivated to participate in the event because one of my good friends was diagnosed with lung cancer a few months ago, and I wanted to show support her her and others fighting for lung cancer survival,” she says.
On a lighter note, the participants enjoyed watching the many firefighters who did the climb wearing their full gear. Says PA student and Fight for Air volunteer Kari Seegmiller: “It was pretty amazing and inspiring to watch them climb!”