Published: Apr 28, 2013 12:33 PM EDT
Updated: Apr 28, 2013 12:44 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fl. - It's the tallest building between Tampa and Miami and dozens climbed to the top of it this weekend.  Not just for fun though.  It was the fourth annual Fight for Air Stair Climb at High Point Place in Fort Myers.

Climbers raised funds for the American Lung Association. 

Breath in.  Breath out.

"We take it for granted... and they're struggling for every single breath," says Cher Labruzzo.

Thirty flights of stairs, 541 steps.  Thirteen year fire fighter Gary McCabe is running every one of them while wearing more than 50 pounds of gear.

"We get a lot of young guys coming out and they say what's your strategy... to get to the top," he says.

McCabe is also climbing for his best friend, Anthony Labruzzo, a fellow fire fighter who lost his fight to lung cancer a few years ago. 

"I saw everything that happened to him and I just know how it can affect anybody, even somebody like Anthony who probably had three percent body fat, worked out all the time and never smoked a day in his life," he adds.

McCabe was one of several firefighters, SWAT team members and climbers who took on this challenge to raise awareness about lung cancer, a disease experts say often goes undetected until it's too late.

"I guess it was my wake up call and my awareness that if it can happen to him, it can happen to anyone," add Cher Labruzzo.

It's giving these climbers even more reason to keep climbing and fighting for air.

"You see the people that are climbing for people who have passed and they may be climbing with a heavy heart but they're also celebrating their life," says Kurt Goerke.