All of the nearly 600 climbers who participated in the stair climb at Saturday at Oakbrook Terrace Tower had their own reasons for doing so.
For some, it was a request from a friend or family member looking to put together a team ito help raise money and increase awareness of lung disease at the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago’s Fight For Air Climb.
For others, the cause was more personal.
Aaron Loughran, 32, of Darien, actually wasn’t able to climb in his fifth event Saturday because of some health issues. But that didn’t prevent Loughran, who has cystic fibrosis and received a double lung transplant in 2007, from showing up to cheer on his team.
The 2019 climb raised nearly $150,000 in a 31-story building with 680 steps from bottom to top.
Lindsay Forsberg of Elmhurst returned for her 12th consecutive climb with her team Gol Dang Amazing.
The team name came from an expression Forsberg’s father, a smoker, used to say often, before he died in 2005 of lung cancer.
“I got involved in this because I wanted to help figure out a way to try to protect others from going through it,” Forsberg said. “I grew up in small-town Iowa, and it pretty much was a way of life for most people there to smoke.”
While her father’s death provided the motivation for Forsberg to participate in her first climb, she’s never thought about not returning each year.
“I don’t do things half way,” she said. “I think it’s very important so I’ve continued coming back, and now my kids, who are 9 and 11, are doing the climb, too.”
Forsberg, a fitness instructor and personal trainer, said her team raised about $2,500.
Meanwhile, Loughran said he absolutely plans to return as a climber next year after increasing his achievement during the climb in each attempt since his first event.
“I just did one tower, one time, 31 flights the first time, which took me 5 to 10 minutes,” he said. “Last year, I did five towers, which was 155 flights.”
Loughran said he trains for the climb by running up 13 flights of stairs after work in the building where he works.
“I’m disappointed that I couldn’t do it this year, but I found out the Monday before that I had heart palpitations,” Loughran said.