HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Hundreds of people climbed almost 700 steps on Saturday morning to raise awareness for lung disease. 

The 12th annual Fight for Air Climb helps raise awareness for lung disease.

The participants climbed 688 steps over 34 flights of stairs. 

"You just keep moving your legs, one step after another," Christina Steinhauser, of West Hartford, said.

Each step up the Hartford 21 building is for a good cause.

The Fight for Air Climb helps raise money for the American Lung Association.

"The idea is that it’s supposed to simulate would feel like for someone with lung disease who has limited oxygen," Steinhause said. 

Lindsey Roy, of Agawam, Mass., started climbing four years ago -- in honor of her mom who passed away from lung cancer. 

"It’s definitely mind over matter," Roy said. "I feel like the whole time I’m thinking about is the top reaching the goal for my mom."

Roy said you keep pushing through no matter how much it burns.

"The small amount of time that I feel pain from doing this climb in my lungs," Roy said. "It’s just a small fraction of what they feel like every day, those who suffer. So this is the least i could do." 

Among those also climbing were firefighters from more than 25 departments.

"I always think of 9/11," Greg Zmarlicki  "They’re going up with all the gear they gotta climb the stairs too so we’re doing this in perfect conditions and they had to do in under the worst conditions so who am i to stop."

The firefighters climbing the stairs on Saturday while wearing their gear, which weighs about 50 pounds.  

"It always feels like a victory at the top,"  Noah Saheffy with the Southington Fire Department, said.

All proceeds from Saturday’s climb go directly to fund lung disease research and education. If you’re interested in learning more or making a donation, click here

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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