2021 Fight For Air Climb - Miami
#imKahlo powered by Body Routers
Last year, #imKahlo’s climb celebrated life. This year we‘ll honor those who inspire us to fight for a healthier future, for clean air and for vital COVID-19 research.
Living with lung cancer, asthma and COPD has taught me two lessons: life is what you make of it, and every step counts. The 2020 Climb for Air challenge started as a physical therapy challenge as we went up and down the hospital stairs sideways, backwards, building endurance. With your help, team #imKahlo raised -in 2020- enough money to fund 6 days of research towards COVID-19 and lung disease!
THE TEAM KEEPS GETTING GREATER AND STRONGER!
This year, #imKahlo is powered by Body Routers. What a wonderful addition to the team! Last year, representatives of Body Routers supported #imKahlo’s efforts; this year we blended to strengthen and power our presence at the 2021 Fight for Air Climb, #imKahlo powered by Body Routers. You will also see them leading the warm-up exercises on the day of the climb as owner and Head Coach will serve as the day’s fitness emcee. Body Routers will also coach my personal efforts to building up the strength and breath rhythm needed to climb 934 steps - 100 steps more than last year's climb!
WHY WE CLIMB
This year’s climb is dedicated to those who inspire the lives of those who’ve supported me every step of this journey. Luis and Margarita Espin, parents of my dear friend Maggie and the inspiration of their grandchildren, Ray and Christina, are an example of those who elevate and breed a generation of people destined to make a positive difference.
This is their story and my dedication.
Margarita passed away seven years ago of respiratory failure after a long battle with COPD.
“For as long as I can remember, I saw my Abuela battle the debilitating effects of not being able to breathe freely and the limitations this forced upon her. Frequent hospital stays, in and out of rehab, and medications consumed the last decade of her life. As a child, I spent countless hours with my Abuela; playing cards, bingo, and board games—she loved them, and I loved spending time with her. She also loved to write; we shared a special Spanish prayer which served as our inspiration for strength and the will to keep fighting: ‘Donde hay fe hay amor, donde hay amor hay paz, donde hay paz està Dios y donde està Dios no falta nada.’. It’s well-known English version: ‘Where there is faith, there is love; where there is love, there is peace; where there is peace, there is God; And where there is God; there is no need.’ (credit: author Leo Tolstoy). My Abuela showed me love; she was funny, kind, and compassionate. I walked down the aisle June of 2019; her memory etched in my heart; her locket in my bouquet and her presence throughout my ceremony. I know she was watching and smiling. There is so much I would love to share with her today. Missing her hurts to my core, but having her memory tied to the efforts to help fight lung disease, fills my heart with joy and pride. Thank you, Captain Irisaida, for sharing her story and bringing awareness to the struggle of fighting to breathe, knowing that our collective efforts can ensure a healthier future and better air quality for all.”
Christina Irizarry-Pires, granddaughter of Margarita Espin
Founder and owner, CMP Connect, LLC; a creative communications company
Six months ago, Ray and Christina tragically also lost their grandfather, Luis Espin, to COVID-19.
“The loss of my Abuelo was unbearable. It wasn’t supposed to happen. He loved life and spending time with us. He’d reminisce of his beloved Cuba, listened to his favorite music, talking, and laughing. He loved giving advice and sharing his life lessons-- and I loved listening. He looked forward to watching my sister and I build our careers and to one day having great-grand-children.
My Abuelo underwent reconstructive knee surgery in January 2020. Following his surgery, he trusted me with his physical therapy; he’d listen attentively, and proudly show me his progress. He had hopes. Instead, he entered the hospital to treat a common infection and soon acquired COVID-19. Watching my grandfather be intubated, agonized, wailing, and fighting for air brought me to tears and to my knees in prayer. My grandfather wasn’t a smoker; he stopped smoking 25 years ago, when I was a child, as a testament to his renewed reason to be healthy and see me and my sister grow and to be a part of our lives. Nevertheless, COVID-19 showed no mercy. It attacked his lungs, hardened them, and choked his ability to breathe. I watched him take his last breath via video-chat on July 4, 2020. Six weeks later, I opened the doors to Body Routers Fitness, inspiring and motivating a renewed and energized fitness community.
Despite a sudden and tragic passing, I choose to praise and celebrate the love and life he shared with me. He was with me as I graduated from FIU, and with us to see my sister get married. He was a proud Abuelo. A man of character. My Abuelo inspired me to love life, laugh often, be grateful, and to be a dignified man of faith and family. I am honored to be his grandson and proud to share his story.
More inspired than ever, I encourage each of you to Make Your Life Move You® and invite you to join us in the Fight for Air Climb. Together we can make a difference to fund vital COVID-19 research and find life-saving treatment against respiratory and lung disease.”
Raymond Irizarry, IV, grandson of Luis Espin;
Team Co-Captain #imKahlo
Owner of Body Routers, LLC
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