Why We Climb

We climb for our friends and loved ones who suffer from lung cancer and all lung diseases. Let's make sure everyone can benefit from healthy lungs.

Lauren Fancher

My name is Lauren Fancher, and I am seventeen years old. I have been climbing for three years.

Climbing for the American Lung Association is definitely a great passion of mine. I really enjoy fundraising for those who have lung diseases and other breathing problems. Every step I take while climbing reminds me of how fortunate I am to have healthy lungs.

I climb for everyone who has lung problems in hopes that one day there will be a cure for the numerous incurable lung diseases. In particular, I climb for my sister and friends of the family who have severe asthma. The memories of my sister constantly taking breathing treatments as a baby push me to climb that one last flight. Knowing that some people experience the same difficulty breathing everyday as I feel after climbing 38 flights, inspires me to set higher fundraising goals.

By fundraising, I hope to ensure that future generations will never have to live with the pain and heartache of lung disorders.

Brina Stephens

My name is Brina Stephens

I come to the Louisville Fight For Air Climb with a personal understanding of the impact asthma can have on the life of a child and an adult. I also understand the impact it has on the live of family and friends of the asthmatic I stopped counting hospitalization in my 20‘s as I averaged a few each year beginning in early childhood. Fortunately, my parents never allowed me to focus on my diagnosis but instead on my potential in this life. Yes, I’ve known the disappointment of losing a goal due to my health, but I’ve also known the exhilaration of climbing above asthma. My loved ones have seen the pure joy in my face as I complete marathons and they’ve known the fear in my eyes as we’ve faced long night in my ICU room. As an elementary teacher and high school coach, it is important that I model anything is possible in this life, regardless of the challenge that are placed before an individual. I comb to demonstrate to my students and athletes the value of a daily task taken for granted, breath. I climb to celebrate m loved ones that have supported my ever day of my journey. I climb so that education and research can continue to allow other kids to find their adult dreams. I climb believing in a future where no child or adult must fear asthma.

Climb Your Way

My name is Susan Warmerdam, and this is why I make Every Step Count

Nine years ago, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer that had spread to my lymph nodes and adrenal gland. It had gone undetected for five to seven years. I never smoked, and I felt fine (except for an allergy-like cough), so hearing that I had an inoperable and incurable disease - with a 50% chance of living a year and 1.6% of surviving five years - brought about a plethora of emotions hard to describe.

Despite the hopeless medical statistics, I was determined to do everything within my control to fight my disease. I did extensive research in both western medicine and holistic practices, and took every step to embrace wellness and get the best medical care possible. I received treatment at Northwestern (which included two years on a daily targeted cancer treatment drug, one clinical trial, and ultimately three surgeries). I grew my faith exponentially. I practiced numerous alternative methods. And, I completely changed my diet - eliminating sugar, meats and dairy - and moved to a primarily plant-based diet. I believe all of these things worked together to help me beat the number one cancer killer… I've been off all treatment for seven years!

I have made it my passion to bring as much awareness to lung cancer and raise as much money for research as I can (my chemo drug started out as an experimental treatment for my type of cancer and helped prolong my life - all thanks to research). I want to help prevent this horrible disease, which took my father’s life in 1999 and several friends' lives since then, from affecting others. I am a spokesperson for the American Lung Association, who has given me a platform from which to advocate and fundraise. Together with my friends, family and colleagues, we have raised over $430,000 and funded seven lung cancer research studies to help find the causes, prevention, early detection and more personalized treatments for lung cancer.

Like most of the population, I thought lung cancer was a smokers' disease, but ANYONE CAN GET LUNG CANCER. There are 541,000 people living today that have been diagnosed with lung cancer (65% of them have never smoked or are former smokers that had quit). I climb to bring awareness to and raise money for lung cancer research. Please support all those who have been touched by the disease.

Thank you for your generous support and for giving all of us hope for a cure.