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When going to the top of the U.S. Bank Center, the tallest building in Wisconsin, many take the elevator.

At 6:30 a.m., March 18, however, people took the stairs – 1,034 to be exact – for the American Lung Association's 2017 Fight For Air Climb.

Among the participants was fourth-year climber Corrine D'Amato of Greendale. She signed up to climb the 97 flights of stairs in honor of her sister-in-law who recently died of lung cancer.

D'Amato is also battling something herself.

"First of all, I myself battle asthma," she said. "It is a very slow and challenging climb for me to physically do."

D'Amato said what she goes through with asthma is "nothing compared to the challenges" others close to her have faced.

D'Amato said her sister-in-law struggled for six years with cancer after the doctor only gave her six months, recently dying at the age of 51. While many link lung cancer to smoking, she said that's a misconception; her sister-in-law contracted it from radon.

"She just passed away in June and our family is still dealing with the many emotions and trying to grasp them," D'Amato said.

According to the official website, the Fight For Air Climbs "usually happen in prominent skyscrapers, stadiums, or arenas and involve climbing multiple steps." Sometimes the event is called a "vertical road race." with teams and individual participants taking part for individual fitness or as a race. D'Amato was the team captain of Schein’s Stompers.

The average time for the U.S. Bank Center, 777 E. Wisconsin Ave., is 13:29.

Funds raised during the event will assist in lung cancer education, research, and advocacy.

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