By Chris Hendrickson, Monitor
One Sultan resident is starting off the New Year with a hefty challenge.
January 25, 34-year-old Amy LaBorda will participate in the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb, which is held at the Rainer Tower in downtown Seattle. The event raises money to aid in lung disease research, helping to fight such lung diseases as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.
LaBorda has made the commitment not only to climb 40 flights of stairs, but to do so while holding her 15-month old daughter, Merri Elln.
Fight for Air Climb participants have the option of climbing 40, 80, 120 or 160 flights of stairs.
“We’re going to start with the 40,” said LaBorda. “That’s going to be quite a bit with an extra 20 pounds strapped to me.”
LaBorda, a physical therapist who has lived in Sultan for nearly four years, decided to participate in the climb as a way to honor her husband’s stepmother, Merrill LaBorda, who died of lung disease five years ago in March. LaBorda had been seeking a charitable event in which she could participate physically, but due to pregnancy-related health issues, wasn’t in a condition to embark on a serious training regimen until recently.
“Everything just kind of fell into place this year,” said LaBorda.
Her training program began a couple months ago, and has recently expanded to include practicing on the grandstand stairs at Sultan High School. She also works out at home, doing squats while holding Merri Elln, in an effort to become more accustomed to exercising with the added weight.
Due to her profession, it has been always important for LaBorda to maintain a certain level of physical ability.
“I have a rule that, if I can’t demonstrate an exercise for a patient, then I can’t ask them to do it,” said LaBorda.
LaBorda wears two hats at her place of employment; in addition to being a fulltime physical therapist, she is also the clinical director at her facility in Smokey Point. In her free time she focuses on spending time with her husband, Jason, and raising her daughter. LaBorda is grateful for all the time spent with her little girl who, at six weeks premature, was born weighing only four pounds and four ounces.
She lives near Sultan High School with her husband, daughter, two dogs and two cats.
“Essentially I have five kids,” said LaBorda.
She looked at Merri Elln, who is a social and cheerful child.
“She’s just the newest. And the messiest,” said LaBorda.
The American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb takes place in different skyscrapers and stadiums around the nation. Last year, members of LaBorda’s extended family participated in the climb held in St. Louis, Mo. The event was held on March 23, the exact four-year anniversary of their mother’s death.
“We’re all trying to kind of do things in her memory,” said LaBorda.
The year’s Seattle event is being sponsored primarily by Fidelity Investments. In addition to the registration fee, participants are encouraged to raise a minimum of $100 dollars for their climbing efforts, which can be pledged via the association’s website at: http://www.lung.org/pledge-events/wa/seattle-climb-fy14