Fight For Air Climb raises funds for lung disease research

MILWAUKEE — Hundreds of climbers laced up their shoes and tackled the stairs at American Family Field to raise awareness for lung disease and support the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb.

For Kate Erd, a double lung transplant recipient, being a part of the Fight For Air climb is also a testament of how far she has come.

She went up and down the stairs of the ballpark with her neighbor and daughter.

“It’s a good feeling to me because about two years ago, I couldn’t even climb a flight of stairs,” said Erd.

A few years ago, Erd was diagnosed with two rare lung diseases: nontuberculous mycobacterial and hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

Doctors told her she would need a double lung transplant to survive.

The same day she was in the hospital in 2019, a man named Dallas was also admitted.

Unfortunately, he didn’t make it, but his family donated his lungs to Erd.

“To have a young man such as Dallas who died at an early age. It was a way to carry on his legacy and why to carry on part of him, so his parents decided to do the donation,” said Erd.

Given another chance at life, Erd named their group “Team Dallas” to walk in his honor.

She wants to support lung disease research because of what she went through.

“There is no cure for most lung diseases, so there is only treatment, and the treatment for the lung disease that I had was grueling. It made me very sick, so they fund research for better treatments and research for cures,” said Erd.

Erd said her experience with lung disease opened her eyes.

“Even though you may not be a smoker, you can get lung disease. I mean, I was healthy. I worked out. I exercised. I ate healthy, and I still got lung disease that could have killed me,” Erd said.

She hoped her team can raise $3,000 for the American Lung Association.

Erd believes supporting this research means everyone can have time to breathe and climb higher.

On Saturday, more than 1,200 people raised a total for $467,000 in the American Lung Association during the climb.

“We are so grateful to everyone in our community for coming together to support lung health,” said Megan Cordova, executive director of the Lung Association. “We are proud that funds raised will help our ongoing efforts to eliminate lung disease here in Wisconsin.”

The 2022 Milwaukee Fight For Air Climb supported over 800,000 Wisconsinites living with lung disease. The Lung Association looks forward to next year’s Climb event and continuing its commitment to improving lung health and preventing lung disease.