A few months ago, my grandmother Donna (or "Nana", as I call her) was diagnosed with lung cancer resulting from years of smoking. Nana, pictured below on the far left with my Aunt Jaimie, Papa Rex, Uncle Rex, and my mom at my Papa's 80th bday party earlier this year.
Lung disease isn't only caused by smoking (although smoking is the most prevalent and preventable cause). You probably know someone who suffers from chronic lung disease. It could be a family member, a young child, a co-worker, a neighbor or maybe even you.
Here are some quick stats from the American Lung Association:
- Asthma, emphysema, influenza, chronic bronchitis, and lung cancer are all forms of lung disease
- Over 35 million Americans have some form of lung disease
- Lung disease is the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S.
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the 4th leading cause of death in the U.S.
- 1 in 7 Americans will die from lung disease
- Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths
- Lung cancer kills more women each year than breast cancer
- Over 20 million Americans suffer from asthma
- Asthma is the #1 reason kids miss school
- Over half of the population of the U.S. is breathing unhealthy levels of ozone and particle pollution
On Saturday, May 15, I will join hundreds of Austinites (and some of my fellow CrossFitters) to raise funds for the American Lung Association and the fight against lung disease by participating in the Fight for Air Climb. This unique race will challenge me to climb 30 stories (60 flights) in a race to the top of the Frost Bank Tower in downtown Austin. It is a big challenge, but I know I can do it. Since I am doing this as a tribute to Nana, I've given myself a goal of a sub 10-minute time. She's a veteran and tough as nails, and if I can motivate her to keep that fightin' spirit by running my ass up that building, I'm happy to do it.
I have seen firsthand the damage done by lung disease and I am dedicated to raising awareness and living life smoke-free. I encourage everyone to do the same.