Published: Apr 23, 2013 7:14 AM EDT
Updated: Apr 23, 2013 7:17 AM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Registration now is underway and teams are training for the 2013 Fight for Air Stairclimb, scheduled for April 27 at the High Point Place, 2104 West First St. in Fort Myers.

The event is hosted by the Gulfcoast Chapter of the American Lung Association.

Last year’s event raised $45,000 for the battle against lung diseases such as asthma and lung cancer, which is the leading cancer-related death for men and women in the United States. Event organizers hope to up the fundraising effort to $50,000 this year.

During stairclimbs, which the American Lung Association (ALA) hosts throughout the country, participants raise money by collecting pledges to ascend the stairway in a high-rise tower. High Point Place, the tallest building between Tampa and Miami, has donated access to one of its towers for the Fight For Air Climb. Climbers ascend the high rise’s 30 floors and 514 steps.

“Nearly 250 climbers participated last year, and we anticipate that number to increase substantially this year,” said Kurt Goerke, regional director of the ALA’s Gulfcoast Chapter.

As is the trend nationally, the Fort Myers stairclimb is attracting an increasing level of support and participation from local firefighters. Firefighters don their full gear during the climb, providing a healthy competition between neighboring fire districts while at the same time inspiring non-firefighting participants.

“A very healthy rivalry has developed among the local fire departments,” Goerke says. “The firefighters all want to be the fastest up the stairs and generate the most donations. The event and our important cause certainly benefit from their involvement.”

Teams who have registered for the event are invited to begin training, and practice climbs are scheduled weekly on Saturday mornings beginning this month. The cost to register for the event is $25, and each climber must raise $100. More information and online registration is available at www.FightForAirClimb.org.