Fight for Air ClimbPosted on Wednesday, March 6th, 2019 by Kristen Kocen
In Community, Culture, tagged in Tags: american lung association, fight for air climb
In late February, Affinis sponsored and participated in the American Lung Association’s (ALA) Fight for Air Climb. Over the last several years, Fight for Air Climbs have raised more than $53 million across the country. Those funds are used to improve lung health and prevent lung disease.
Our co-worker, Kristen Leathers-Gratton, joined the board for ALA in 2016, so we asked her to share more about her involvement with the organization. In this interview, she discusses her connection to the cause, how ALA is making a difference, and ways others can offer support.
What drew you to the American Lung Association? How did you get involved?
In January 2011, my husband Hunter was diagnosed with lung cancer. We sought treatment at MD Anderson in Houston. After four rounds of chemotherapy, his body was depleted and complications set in. Travel was no longer a realistic option, and we continued his care at KU Med. It was evident the cancer was winning. Hunter never lost his will to fight and fought fearlessly until his death on December 22, 2011. My daughter Hope and I watched him battle the disease and labor to live. We saw him struggle to breathe as each day, hour, and minute passed. When I was approached about joining the ALA board, it seemed like a natural fit. It’s a way to share our family’s story, be an advocate for lung health, and honor Hunter’s courage.
Why do you think it’s important?
We all have lungs, so anyone can be affected by lung diseases or conditions. Breath is life. Healthy lungs make breathing easy and give us the freedom to enjoy all life has to offer.
How does the Fight for Air Climb benefit others?
The ALA knows the value of every dollar and works hard to efficiently manage costs within the agency. Their efforts result in 89 cents of every dollar raised going toward legislative advocacy, health education, and medical research for lung health.
What are some other ways people can support the Lung Association?
Along with the Fight for Air Climb, the local ALA chapter hosts the GLAM and Lung Expo events. The LUNG FORCE GLAM is our premier event. It focuses on fundraising with live and silent auctions, as well as an evening of dinner and dancing. This year’s event is May 9 at the Arrowhead Club. The LUNG FORCE EXPO is an educational event for medical professionals, patients, and caregivers. Speakers share information about lung health research, treatments, and care. This year’s event will be in June.
It’s not too late to donate to support the American Lung Association. Check out our team link and donate today! So far, we’ve raised just over $3,460.