'Fight For Air' stair climb in San Francisco raises money for American Lung Association

A simple morning exercise ramped up Saturday morning at the skyscraper located at 555 California, formerly the Bank of America building.

The event, dubbed the "Fight for Air" stair climb raised money for the American Lung Association. It brought our firefighters from all over the Bay Area.

"Today I also climb for my fire sister Maria," said Melissa Bell. She's a firefighter with CAL Fire's Santa Clara unit, serving on the front lines of last year's Dixie Fire. "Her baby boy is fighting for his lungs and his organs are still developing, so I'm climbing representing for him."

This is the 16th annual edition of the event; it's also held inside a stairwell for the first time in two years, having been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While several firefighters showed out, other climbers participated with other stories. 

John Goodwin, from Colma, says he suffered with entire life from second hand smoke.

"My mom and dad were smokers and they died of lung related diseases," he said. "I'm here to support any efforts to improve education."

One man came from Malaysia to turn the fundraiser into sport.

"Hopefully, one day, the sport will be Olympic," said Wai-Ching Soh. 

The San Francisco climb is his fourth in 15 days.

"That's my mission and I've dedicated my life to support the tower climbing sport around the world."

Each person raised at least $100 for the American Lung Association. 

A spokesperson said there are 42 different lung diseases; 43 if you count COVID-19. The organization invested $25 million in COVID-19 research.