TAMPA, Fla. — Imagine walking to the top of the Bank of America building in Tampa — 42 flights of stairs, 914 Steps. The annual Fight For Air Climb in Tampa is on April 1. And if that doesn't make you understand what it feels like to fight for air, then nothing will.
Melissa Jones never takes a deep breath for granted. "I have asthma and both of my children also have asthma so lung research is very important to me."
She started doing the Fight For Air Climb seven years ago and is preparing to do it again this year by training in aerial arts.
"I started doing this a couple [of] years ago and it has helped me get in shape. It helps me with breath control and my stamina which is all integral for the climb," she said.
All the proceeds from this fundraiser go to the American Lung Association. Kristin Niemi is the Development Manager for the American Lung Association Tampa.
"We fund research for all lung diseases. That can be lung cancer, asthma, smoking cessation education and classes. Support groups for people who have lung cancer or lung diseases," Niemi said.
And even though Jones makes aerial arts look easy — "It's extremely difficult," she said.
"There's a lot of muscles that you use that you don't realize you're using. There's also an adrenaline factor so when you're high up off the ground you're shaking a little bit and your muscles are going and you start breathing erratically," she continued. "So this helps me control that breath and also when you're upside down, remembering to breathe as well."