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      People & Places:Fight for Air Climb

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- With each step you take, in your head, you are counting....two hundred thirty eight...two hundred thirty nine...The good news? You TMre half way there. That is, of course, if you are one of the teams training for the second annual American Lung Association TMs Fight For Air Climb, which takes place at the Capital Center on the corner of Gervais and Assembly Streets on May 21st.

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      The climb, in the state TMs tallest building, includes four hundred and seventy-nine stairs; spread over twenty-five floors. Regional Manager for the American Lung Association, Katie Bullard is looking for brave climbers from all walks of life to Step up to the challenge and to raise money and awareness for promoting good lung health. Bullard says that they are looking for more police departments and the Military to be involved, but entries are not limited to service men and woman. I TMm doing it myself, so everyone is welcome, says Bullard. The entry fee is $25.00 per person, and participants are asked to then seek out monetary pledges, all of which goes to American Lung.

      Last year TMs climb saw over eighty participants, many from local fire departments and EMS providers. This year, Bullard hopes to see the number more than double. According to Bullard the event has brought participants with diverse backgrounds together, including lung cancer survivors, family members of those lost, competitive and recreational climbers, and of course, fire fighters, who make the climb in full gear, which can add an additional seventy pounds of weight. Firefighters are disproportionately affected by all types of lung disease. In the line of duty, they may experience exposure to gasses, chemicals and other substances with potentially damaging effects on the respiratory system, says Bullard.

      One of this year TMs competitors, Lexington County Fire Service TMs Capt. Chris Ballington is hoping to beat his last year TMs time of 8:28. It TMs a lot of fun and a great cause, he says, also citing the camaraderie that is created between the different fire departments as they train for the event.

      The second annual Fight For Air Climb is on Saturday, May 21st, starting at 8:00am. Teams that have signed up for the climb can practice at the Capital Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30pm. You can register as a team or individual and find more information at, or call 803.779.5864.

      (This story courtesy WACH Fox Good Day Columbia contributor Tyler Ryan.)