BRISTOL – City resident Courtney Pope, an activist looking to raise awareness and gain funding for the American Lung Association, participated in the Hartford Fight for Air Climb, which saw her climb 34 flights of stairs at the Hartford 21 building, and is planning to do it again.
“You see runs and walks but this was totally different and I’d never seen anything like it,” she said. “It happened at the right time; my Dad had been diagnosed three or four months prior and the climb was on our shared birthday. I thought ‘what more divine intervention do you need to do this?’ It was really hard, but it gave me some perspective on what people with lung disease deal with. By floor 11 my lungs were burning and my legs felt like cement. But there were people along the way cheering you on and giving you water. I felt the need to hold on and I managed to get to the top. I never felt more proud of myself. ”
Pope also plans to participate in the Fight For Air Climb this year.
“We’ve done a lot of great work for different things like the opioid epidemic but with lung cancer, people still have this attitude of ‘you were a smoker, you did this to yourself,’” she said. “But there is still a lot of advertising for smoking, and it's still ‘cool’ for kids to vape. People need to feel less stigmatized if we want to encourage them to get help.”
For more information on the Fight For Air Climb, visit www.action.lung.org .
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.