Firefighter Challenge Part of Lung Association's Fight for Air Climb on Saturday, January 21

EmblemHealth Official Sponsor of Firefighter Challenge

NEW YORK, NY (01/20/2012)(readMedia)-- The American Lung Association in New York announced there will be a special Firefighter Challenge sponsored by EmblemHealth at the 2012 Fight for Air Climb on Saturday, January 21. The challenge will pit fire houses from across the New York City metro area against each other in a race to the top of One Penn Plaza. To date, more than 300 people, including 45 firefighters, have committed to climb the 55 flights of One Penn Plaza to raise awareness about lung disease and funds to save lives and improve lung health.

"Every day across New York City, FDNY members climb flights of stairs to fight fires and save lives," said Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano. "At the American Lung Association 2012 Fight for Air Climb, FDNY members along with hundreds of New Yorkers will climb stairs to save lives in a different way by raising funds and awareness about lung disease."

In New York State, nearly 2.5 million people suffer from lung disease including asthma, COPD and lung cancer. Tragically, lung disease affects all ages, all races, and all economic levels and is the third leading cause of death nationwide. The American Lung Association works to save lives by preventing lung disease and improving lung health.

The work of the Lung Association is especially significant to firefighters, whose on-the-job exposure to smoke and pollutants put them at increased risk for lung disease. The Fight for Air Climb is a way for firefighters - and all New Yorkers - to come together to raise funds that will benefit all people who suffer from the debilitating effects of lung disease.

"We are pleased to sponsor this important event once again to raise awareness of lung disease and highlight the contributions of New York City firefighters," says William Gillespie, MD, Chief Medical Officer of EmblemHealth. "We are proud to count New York's bravest among EmblemHealth's members. They give everything to our city, and we are committed to keeping them healthy."

In addition to having the support of EmblemHealth, the Lung Association has also partnered with building sponsor Vornado Realty Trust, to further its mission to achieve healthy lungs and clean air. Vornado, one of the largest publicly traded REITS in the nation, is helping to make the Fight for Air Climb a coast-to-coast initiative. In addition to hosting the Fight for Air Climb in New York at One Penn Plaza, their 2.5 million square foot 55-story office tower, Vornado hosts San Francisco's Fight for Air Climb at the 52-story signature office tower 555 California Street. With 14,000,000 million square feet of LEED certified space in New York City and San Francisco, Vornado's commitment to sustainability encompasses issues of indoor and outdoor air quality. One Penn Plaza received LEED certification in 2010 and 555 California Street in 2011.

The Fight for Air Climb is also being generously supported by Teva Specialty Pharmaceuticals. This year's media sponsors include Clear Channel Radio, New York Post and Financial Times. Local Cafe and Cocktails, which is located right at One Penn Plaza, has generously agreed to host this year's awards ceremony which will take place immediately following the event. At the ceremony, awards will be presented to both the fastest firefighter and individual, and to the fastest firefighter team and general team. Awards will also be given out for top fundraisers.

"We are grateful to have the support of FDNY in this year's Firefighter Challenge and the support of so many generous sponsors and participants," said Jeff Seyler, CEO of the American Lung Association in New York. "So many New Yorkers who suffer from asthma and lung disease depend on us to fight for clean air, fund vital research and deliver important lung health programs so that they can breathe easier. We are hopeful that people all across the New York City metropolitan area will support our Fight for Air Climb by participating or making a donation."

Check in for the Fight for Air Climb on January 21 begins at 9am and the climb starts at 10am.

Participants can sign up as an individual climber or form a team. Companies large and small have already committed to creating teams compete against each other for the best times in this vertical race. To register or for more information, visit, call 212-889-3370 x13 or email To make a donation visit the Fight for Air Climb website.


About the American Lung Association in New York:

Now in its second century, the American Lung Association in New York is the leading statewide organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, or to support our work, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit

About FDNY:

As first responders to fires, public safety and medical emergencies, disasters and terrorist acts, FDNY protects the lives and property of New York City residents and visitors. The Department advances public safety through its fire prevention, investigation and education programs. The timely delivery of these services enables the FDNY to make significant contributions to the safety of New York City and homeland security efforts.

About EmblemHealth:

EmblemHealth, Inc., through its companies Group Health Incorporated (GHI) and HIP Health Plan of New York (HIP), provides quality health care coverage and administrative services to approximately 2.9 million people. Groups and individuals can choose from a variety of PPO, EPO and HMO plans, as well as coverage for prescription drugs and dental and vision care. We offer a choice of networks, including quality doctors and other health care professionals throughout the region, leading acute care hospitals across the tristate area, and physicians and hospitals across all 50 states. For more information, visit

About Vornado Realty Trust:

Vornado Realty Trust is one of the largest owners and managers of commercial real estate in the United States with a portfolio of over 100 million square feet, primarily located in the New York and Washington, DC metropolitan areas. Vornado's core businesses include: New York Office Properties; Washington, DC Office Properties; Retail Properties and Merchandise Mart Properties.