Highland Heights, other fire departments to participate in Fight for Air Climb

Feb. 29—Firefighters from Highland Heights, Mayfield Heights and other local departments, well as Euclid Fire Hockey, have been raising money in preparation for the American Lung Association's Fight for Air Climb, which is returning for its 14th year on March 3 .

The Air Climb will have participants inside the Key Bank Tower climb 1,200 stairs — 53 flights — in a shared goal of raising money for the American Lung Association.

Danny Corsillo, John Sauto and Bobby Tyler of Highland Heights Fire Local 2380 are one of the teams that will be participating in the climb and have raised $1,776 of their $3,000 goal as of Feb. 28.

Corsillo said as a young member of the fire department he wanted to do something more to support a good cause and build comradery along the way.

"We raised the money just from receiving donations from family and friends off of Facebook posts and stuff like that," Corsillo said. "Anything we could do to support a good cause and we are happy to do it. Helps build comradery and continue the brotherhood of the fire service.

"This is actually as far as I know the first year that Highland Heights is doing this event," he added. "I've already been having requests from guys who want to do it next year who couldn't do it this year, so that's good. I'm fairly new so hopefully it will be something we can keep doing every single year.

"We are pretty fit (but) it's definitely going to be a challenge being in full gear," he continued. "We don't have to breathe air, but we are going to be carrying at least 50 pounds of gear and our air packs. It's going to be pretty challenging, but we are up for it.

"We don't have any high-rise buildings in our area so this will be a little bit of an eye-opener at what some of these bigger cities do when they don't have working elevators and stuff."

According to James Martinez a spokesman for the American Lung Association, this year's Fight for Air Climb is the first year back inside a building since the pandemic forced them to hold the fundraiser outside in a stadium.

"We feel great," Martinez said. "A lot of our repeat climbers, our funders, our supporters, and past participants have been waiting for this for a long time. We understand that we had to be safe and go outside for safety concerns, but we feel great about being back in a building. We are still using some precautions in terms of sanitizer and keeping a distance, but we feel confident that everything will be OK.

"90 cents of every dollar goes to our mission and programs," he added. "Advocacy, Education and Research are what we are about. When we talk about advocacy, basically we give a voice to lung health when it comes to public policy, when it comes to advocating for cleaner air standards, and stronger tobacco control policy.

"We are those folks on ground at state capitals and on Capitol Hill telling officials 'Hey you need to protect our lungs' whether it's through clean air or through tobacco control policy."

He said that the American Lung Association educates the public on how to maintain lung health and the different aspects that go into that. He said that they also donate most of the money raised in charity events similar to this one to research cures for lung cancer and lung disease.

He said that this Fight for Air Climb is designed for people of many different ages to participate, and that different groups could tackle the challenge how they see fit.

"It's not your mom's walk, it's not your dad's run, it's not your 5K, it's a stair climb," Martinez said. "It's different, it's new and it's for everyone of all fitness levels.

"We have a 5-year-old climbing, and we have a 98-year-old climbing, you can do it fast or slow, firefighters do it with gear and some do it without, and again it's all for a good cause."

For more information on the Fight for Air Climb and other events the American Lung Association does, readers can check their website at