Step Up to the Challenge

Why We Climb

Lovette RussellMy name is Lovette Russell and this is why I am virtually climbing.

Breathing for me is now the biggest challenge of my life. I suffer from pulmonary fibrosis and all of the simple things in life - walking up a flight of stairs, laughing really hard, getting dressed in the morning; I certainly took these things for granted.

Now in order for me to do anything I have to have my oxygen machine with me. As a triathlete one of the things I miss the most is being able to do anything athletic.

I soooo wish that I was able to participate in April but since I can't win the race, I am working hard to support my team and all the wonderful climbers who are able to climb for people like me. I know, more than anyone how important the American Lung Association is - every breath now is work for me and I am thankful for organizations like this that help to make breathing a little easier for me and others.

Watch Lovette sharing her story at the 2016 Climb.

We climb for our friends and loved ones who suffer from lung cancer, the leading cancer killer.

Katy McCloudMy name is Katy McCloud and this is why I climb.

I am climbing for my first hero, my mentor, and the man I have always and will always look up to as one of the greatest and most influential people in my life….my father John McCloud. My fiancé and I moved to Atlanta from Chicago in August this past year for his job. In trying to get used to this new city, new jobs, and planning a wedding from afar we had no idea what was in store for us. We got a call just before Thanksgiving that my dad was in the hospital. Advanced Small Cell Lung Cancer. Our world was flipped upside down just like that. Now my life involves trips back and from Atlanta to Chicago every other weekend to “help” but mainly to just be there with my parents as they go through this together. The feeling of helplessness that comes from getting this news is palpable. It rocks you to your core as you sit back and watch someone you love so deeply go through the feelings, the pain, and there is nothing you can do but sit there. Until I saw the climb….It was a moment where I realized this is something I can do to actively engage and help not just my dad but others who are affected by the same terrible disease. It made me feel proactive and like I am fighting there with him. The strides they are making in cancer research is truly astounding. This is partly selfish, I obviously want a cure for my dad. If I can raise money to help why wouldn’t I? But the love and support through all of this from friends, family, and coworkers has been incredible. This experience has already been more than I ever contemplated it would be. I can’t imagine the feelings that will come on the day of the climb, but I am ready!


Alex VedlitzMy name is Alex Vedlitz and this is why I climb.

I climb for my twin brother Aaron who has chronic asthma. Aaron may have the asthma, but I fear for my brother’s health. Aaron has many environmental triggers that are hard to control, such as extreme change in temperature. He has been in and out of hospitals our whole life and whenever his asthma flares up I worry if he will have to stay in the hospital and if so, how long? I feel so helpless so I decided to step up and do something about it. I have made it my personal mission to fight for clean air for Aaron and other children who struggle to breathe!

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