Mike, Jennifer and Payton Johnson, of Brookfield, climbed 94 floors in Respiratory Health Association’s 16th annual Hustle Up the Hancock on Sunday, February 24. The charity stair climb drew more than 4,000 people to ascend John Hancock Center and raises funds and awareness for the association’s local lung disease research and programs.
Jennifer climbed in Hustle as a Lung Health Champion and started her own team, Loyola's Lung Angels. She is a lung transplant nurse and teammates included her colleagues, her 12-year-old son, Payton, and two former patients who are lung transplant survivors. It also included Jennifer's husband, Mike, who has a rare lung disease, cryptogenic organizing pneumonia. The disease causes the bronchioles and surrounding tissues in the lungs to become inflamed and makes it hard to breathe. Jennifer climbed in his honor.
"I want Mike to know there isn't anything I wouldn't do to support him," Jennifer said. "Climbing is a way I can help fund lung disease research and spread awareness about lung health so people can identify their lung problems."
More than half of the climbers participate in honor or in memory of a loved one affected by lung disease such as lung cancer, COPD, asthma or pulmonary fibrosis. Together, climbers have raised nearly $1.2 million for Respiratory Health Association. Learn more or support a climber at www.lungchicago.org.