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Iowa Firefighters Climb Principal Park in Honor of Family with Asthma, COPD

3/7/2022

Will race up hundreds of steps in Lung Association event, May 7 

DES MOINES, Iowa (March 7, 2022) – With a father living with asthma and a mother suffering from COPD, respectively, Jeremy Brogaard and Daniel Martinez, Jr. from the Kanawha Fire Department are raising awareness and funds to help eliminate lung disease. These local heroes will climb 834 steps up to four times in their 50-pound firefighter gear at the American Lung Association in Iowa’s Fight For Air Climb, presented by EMC Insurance Companies, at Principal Park on Saturday, May 7. 

“I enjoy taking part in the Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb because I can raise awareness that lung disease is a real thing,” said Martinez. “When people participate in this event, they get to feel what others go through when they struggle to breathe with this devastating disease.”

In 2013, Martinez participated in his first Climb event with his fellow firefighter, Brogaard. Five years later, Martinez’s mother was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is a chronic lung disease that makes it hard to breathe.  

“My mom is on oxygen full time and is not as active as she used to be. This lung disease has really taken away a lot of her abilities,” said Martinez. “It has been a lot more meaningful to do the Climb since my mom suffers from COPD.”

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Like Martinez, Brogaard has a loved one living with lung disease. Ever since he was a child, his father has suffered from asthma. He also had a father-in-law who passed away from lung cancer.

“As a kid, my dad would always have to grab his inhaler. As I’ve gotten older, my dad’s asthma has thankfully gotten a little better,” said Brogaard. “By being involved with the Fight For Air Climb, I can bring awareness to this lung disease and hopefully help many others like my dad who are living with asthma.”

Brogaard and Martinez have participated together in the Des Moines Climb a total of eight years and have raised around $3,000 for the event. Their fundraising goal for this year’s Climb is to raise $4,500.

“We’re hoping to raise more money this year and get more people involved since the Climb is for such a great cause,” said Brogaard.                                                                                                        

The Des Moines Fight For Air Climb attracts hundreds of climbers from across Iowa who step up to increase awareness about and funding to end lung cancer and lung disease, including COVID-19, through lifesaving research, local programs and advocacy.

The Lung Association is committed to the health and safety of its participants and volunteers. The organization will continue to closely monitor public health conditions and CDC guidelines for COVID-19. Everyone is encouraged to check the Climb website for the most updated information leading up to the event. 

For more information, and to register, visit FightForAirClimb.org/DesMoines

To purchase the Lung Association’s 2022 Firefighter Calendar honoring Brogaard and Martinez, please visit: Lung.org/Calendar.

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