Fortunately many of us will never experience the trauma of not being able to take a complete breath. However, those who live in multi-story homes or in an upper-floor apartment understand the issues of carrying a basket of laundry or groceries up a flight or two of stairs.
Now imagine climbing 42 flights of stairs, 804 steps, while wearing an extra 40 pounds of firefighter gear.
That is exactly what Port Clinton Firefighters Matthew Horn and Jay Edwards will be doing on Saturday, March 3, as they climb Terminal Tower in downtown Cleveland as they participate with others in the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb.
Horn, a local Chiropractor and lecturer on nutrition and other health topics, was initially intrigued by the challenge after talking to another Port Clinton resident, Joe Camerato. Camerato, a firefighter in Toledo, participated in another climb in early February and recruited Horn.
“Joe said it was the hardest thing he’s ever had to do,” Horn said. “I didn't want to be the only firefighter from our department so I asked if anyone was interested and Jay jumped right up.”
Edwards, an avid runner and bicyclist, said he was just looking for another challenge.
“When Matt asked for volunteers, I thought it was for a great cause and would be a huge challenge. Forty-two flights of stairs in full fire gear, including helmet, gloves and air tank is not something many people would ever do in their lifetime, let alone voluntarily," he said.
The three have been training for about two weeks, running a few miles each day and climbing the steps at Tru-Lay Stadium and an area condo complex to build up endurance.
“Some participating look at it as a race. I'm just looking to finish for a sense of accomplishment,” Horn said. “We know it will be a challenge but we're looking forward to it.”
Port Clinton Fire Chief Kent Johnson is proud of Horn and Edwards.
“As firefighters we understand the importance of adequate air supply. Without it we can’t do our job. And, if we can’t do our job properly, people get hurt,” Johnson said. “I can’t say enough good things about Matt and Jay for what they are doing. It’s a wonderful event for a wonderful cause.”
When asked why he wasn’t participating in the Climb for Air Chief Johnson joked, “Oh, but I am! I’ll take the elevator to the top floor where I’ll be waiting with a bottle of water for each of them.”
Port Clinton Firefighters Horn and Edwards are accepting donations on behalf of the American Lung Association. According to the event webpage (http://www.lung.org/pledge-events/oh/cleveland-climb-fy12/) donations may be given online with a credit card or checks made payable to the American Lung Association may be mailed or dropped off at the PC Fire Station located at 1755 State St., Port Clinton, OH 43452, with the notation Horn/Edwards in the memo section of the check.
All proceeds from this event will be used by the American Lung Association for continued efforts toward education, research and advocacy in the fight for healthy lungs and healthy air.
For information or to start your own team, contact Climb Manager Patty Kaplan at 216-532-8203.