By Kristen Johanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The last thing many people want to do on a Saturday morning is to climb out of bed and climb 50 flights of stairs. But that’s exactly what hundreds of people woke up early to do this morning in Center City Philadelphia. And it was all for a good cause.READ MORE: Philadelphia School District Students, Staff To Resume Masking As COVID Cases Continue To Rise In City
It’s known as the Fight for Air Stair Climb. Brothers Kevin and Brian Ercolani lost their mother to lung cancer. They’ve turned their loss into a fight for good, and it’s been a success.
We’ve raised approximately $4,200 so far as a team. We have 42 members and this is our second year doing it,” Kevin says. “It’s a really good showing for people who have lost people, but also for the future of trying to find a cure for this disease.”
Money raised goes the American Lung Association. Brian is thankful for the support.
“We have the third largest team,” he says. “That this many people are willing to come out, not only to raise awareness, but also to show support for my mom and my family.”
Solo climber Sean Smith is honoring his mother and mother-in-law. He says it’s taken months of training to get this far.
I’ve trained on the Art Museum steps and also in a gym,” he says. This is my third time. I’m trying to get a team together for next year.”READ MORE: West Philly Double Shooting Leaves 30-Year-Old Man Dead, Teen Hospitalized: Police
Michael Carr is captain of Team Stab, named in honor of his friend John Stabilito.
“He passed away due to complications from COPD,” Carr says. “We’ve tried to build the largest climb team in the nation.”
Some local firefighters joined in on the fun for both charity and some extra training.
“The access to the building is a big part of it,” says Philadelphia firefighter Justin Duff. “To be able to do it in gear is great training for us. We also have the cancer angle. We have increased chance of lung cancer in the fire service, so anything we do to give back to the (American) Lung Association is an added bonus.”
Carr says he may not be a firefighter, but his team is ready to take it to the top.
It takes your breath away,” he says. “You just have to make sure you have a little bit of air left in your lungs so you can swallow a bottle of water.”
The total number of steps climbed was more than 1,100.MORE NEWS: Police Investigating Series Of Gunpoint Robberies In Center City, West Philadelphia