Lung Association's Fight For Air Climb on Nov 21 to Include Firefighter Challenge

EmblemHealth is Official Sponsor of Firefighter Challenge; Lee Ielpi is Honorary Firefighter Chair

NEW YORK, NY (11/04/2010)(readMedia)-- The American Lung Association in New York announced there will be a special Firefighter Challenge at the 2010 Fight For Air Climb on November 21 that will pit fire houses from across the New York City metro area against each other in the race to the top of One World Financial Center. The Fight For Air Climb is the Lung Association's premier event that raises awareness about lung disease and raises funds to help the Lung Association save lives and improve lung health. This is the first time the event is being held in New York City.

EmblemHealth is the Official Sponsor of the 2010 Fight For Air Climb Firefighter Challenge. Lee Ielpi, veteran New York City Firefighter, 9-11 family member and co-founder of the Tribute WTC Visitor Center in New York City, is Honorary Firefighter Chair.

"As a 26-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department, I know full well the detrimental effects that fire and smoke have on our lungs," said Lee Ielpi. "I am proud to be the honorary firefighter chair of the American Lung Association's Fight For Air Climb in New York City to raise awareness of lung disease and its impact on people's lives including first responders."

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.

According to Ielpi, 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 to raise awareness of lung disease and highlight the contributions of New York City firefighters," says Frank Branchini, President and Chief Operating 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 Fight For Air Climb is being sponsored by Pfizer, the New York Health & Racquet Club, Financial Times, New York Post, Clear Channel Radio, Urban Athletics and Clif Bar. Brookfield Properties is hosting the event by generously donating their space at the World Financial Center.

"We are honored to have Lee Ielpi serving as Honorary Firefighter Chair of our first-ever Fight For Air Climb in New York City and grateful for the generous support of EmblemHealth," said Scott T. Santarella, President and CEO. "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."

The registration fee for general participants is $50 and $25 for the Firefighter Challenge. In addition to the registration fee, there is a minimum fundraising requirement of $250, which must be met by the day of the event. Check in for the Fight For Air Climb on November 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 to support the Lung Association's Fight For Air and 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 to the Fight For Air Climb 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 EmblemHealth:

EmblemHealth, Inc., through its companies Group Health Incorporated (GHI) and HIP Health Plan of New York (HIP), provides affordable, quality health care coverage and administrative services to approximately 3.3 million people. Groups and individuals can choose from a variety of PPO, EPO and HMO programs, as well as prescription drug, dental and vision plans. Plans offer a choice of networks, including access to over 106,000 quality doctors and other health care professionals and most of the leading hospitals across the tristate region. For more information, visit