1,400 climb RenCen to help clear the air

The Detroit News

It’s a workout.

That’s what the more than 1,400 climbers in the Fight for Air Climb-Detroit concluded as they trekked the Renaissance Center’s 70 flights Sunday — or made a good go of it — for the American Lung Association fundraiser.

When they reached the summit of the RenCen, they could claim bragging rights for having climbed the tallest building in the state, and for some, the loss prepping for the event of “tens and tens and tens of pounds.”

“If you’re able to finish it, you’re able to go downtown any day of the week, point to the RenCen, and say: “I climbed that,” said Jessie Jimenez-Schlicht, the association’s coordinator for the climb, now in its ninth year.

The climb raised more than $286,000, Jimenez-Schlicht said. The money will go toward raising awareness of lung diseases and for smoking cessation, as well as for clean air advocacy and education.

Climbers didn’t converge at once to get to the top. “We take them up at specific times, so the stairwells aren’t overcrowded,” she said.

Volunteers, including emergency medical technicians and medical professionals, kept watch for people experiencing breathing problems or those who had trouble climbing.

Firefighters and first responders, including those from Toledo and as far away as Traverse City, also were among the participants, Jimenez-Schlicht said.