More than 1,100 people climb to the top of the Tower of the Americas
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation held 35th annual run and climb to raise awareness
SAN ANTONIO – Many would prefer taking an elevator to the top of the Tower of the America’s for a panoramic view of San Antonio.
However, more than 1,100 people climbed the stairway to help find a cure for cystic fibrosis. Saturday morning marked the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s 35th Annual Tower Climb and Run.
Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease that damages the lungs and digestive system, making it difficult for victims of the disease to properly breathe or digest their food.
"Those that have cystic fibrosis have mucus that covers the entire body and most of their organs," said Terri Mauldin, executive director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. "So, can you imagine having that mucus (in your lungs), not being able to breathe and then run up the tower?"
To get a glimpse of what those living with the disease experience, firefighters from San Antonio's surrounding areas wore their gear that weighs more than 40 pounds.
Converse Fire Department Chief Luis Valdez said at some points he was short of breath.
“The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the people that are suffering from this terrible disease are worth the effort for us to come on our day off and do all we can to help them out,” Valdez said.
Carter Kristof is 9-years-old and living with cystic fibrosis. He completed the climb in 17 minutes.
"It was hard (going) up but harder (going) down," Kristof said.
He said it was challenging because for him and others with the disease, it feels like they are breathing through a straw.
Kristof was cheered on by family, friends and his teacher.
"I cried my way down because this has been a battle," Meghen Castillo said. Castillo is Kristof's mother. "I'm so impressed with him."
According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the money raised through events like the tower climb have helped fund groundbreaking research for medicines like Trikafta as well as therapies. They also give hope to victims of the disease and to those who love them, but health advocates said there’s still a lot more work to be done.
“The fight is on. We’ve got to find a cure,” Mauldin said. “Trikafta is a wonderful thing but it’s not a cure. We want to continue to do this event and many others here in San Antonio.”
This year's top fundraising team, TSAOG, raised more than $24,000. During Saturday morning's event, the Lone Star Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation raised a total of $215,000 to help find a cure.
For more information on the chapter’s tower climb, visit their website here.
For a calendar of local events that benefit research for cystic fibrosis, click here.
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