By Howard Monroe

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Climbers raced to the top of the Three Logan Square building in Philadelphia Saturday morning to  raise money for lung cancer research. 

“Just keep pushing harder, keep pushing harder and then just feel the pain afterwards,” Joe Parente, who made the climb, said.

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No pain, no gain was in full display Saturday morning. Six hundred climbers raced to the top of Three Logan Square all in the name of cancer research.

“We have a statement at the Lung Association, ‘When you can’t breathe nothing else matters,'” Deb Brown, of the American Lung Association, said. “And I think many people are experiencing what that would be like.”

Climbers went up 50 floors, or 1,088 stairs to the top. This is the 16th year for the Fight For Air Climb. 

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Joann Billings climbed for her father, Ken Billings, who died 22 years ago from cancer. He himself was a climber and climbed Pikes Peak in Colorado in a wheelchair. 

“I will do anything and everything to honor my dad and that keeps him alive,” Joann Billings said. 

This year’s climb also had a special tribute. Philadelphia fire battalion chief John Narkin had an award presented in his name. It went to the highest fundraiser. He’s been a firefighter for 27 years, which left him with metastatic lung cancer from breathing in toxic substances from fires. 

“I’m very humbled. I’m not a person who likes to be out front like that but they decided to do it and I’m embracing it,” Narkin said.

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Organizers hope to raise nearly $300,000 with Saturday’s event. You can donate to the American Lung Association through June.