TAMPA, Fla. — Bump that step count up this week! The American Lung Association is challenging everyone to adopt healthier habits for National Take The Stairs Day!
National Take The Stairs Day is celebrated every January 12.
What You Need To Know
- National Take The Stairs Day is celebrated every January 12. The American Lung Association challenges everyone to adopt healthy habits.
- Celia Merritt climbs steps to raise funds for the American Lung Association in honor of her mother.
- Money raised from the Fight for Air Climb on April 2 at Raymond James Stadium goes to fund grants to support research for COVID-19, lung disease and lung cancer, while also funding asthma and COPD support groups.
For Celia Merritt, the fight for healthy cardio is a personal one.
While the 40-year-old climbs the stairs at the Convention Center in Tampa, she says the workout gives her the exercise that helps her body and mind. But there's a more personal reason behind the steps she climbs.
"What started this whole thing was my mom, years ago when she was diagnosed with lung cancer, and I needed an outlet," said Merritt.
"When you're given six months to live, there's a very liberating thing that happens where now everything really is a gift."
Merritt reflects on how her mother was a gift.
"My mom just liked to live and enjoy life," said Merritt.
Celia climbs with hopes of giving others a gift. She climbs in honor of her mother, diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. Despite being given just months to live, Gail Porter passed away more than eight years later in 2019.
"That's what I love about my mom, was she won the battle against cancer because she had herself and she had her family and there was never a time where she was defeated," said Merritt.
Celia wants to help other families fight lung disease. She climbs to raise funds for the American Lung Association to continue research and awareness efforts.
"So this is honoring her because every year that we do this somebody's helped, every year that we do this, somebody has a better life or even just has a life, they live longer because we do this," said Merritt.
The Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Lieutenant of 16 years proudly wears her mother's name on her team climbing shirt.
The team goal: meet at the top, and the team will not stop.
The 40-year-old mother of one, says her daughter grew up visiting grandma in the hospital. Between treatment and surgeries, they enjoyed trips to Disney together.
"She did amazing things once she was diagnosed. She never lost herself in it, so to be able to go back and see all the pictures and see all the triumphs."
Now, this daughter holds on to those happy memories in those photos and this daughter won't give up, no matter how many stairs it might take to climb.
Money raised from the Fight for Air Climb on April 2 at Raymond James Stadium goes to fund grants to support research for COVID-19, lung disease and lung cancer, while also funding asthma and COPD support groups.