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Everyday Heroes: Climb for Clean Air

For four months out of the year, Ted Zurcher gives up part of his weekend to help train people to climb a mountain.

“We go on hikes every weekend,” Zurcher told KATU. “And each weekend the hike gets progressively more difficult. So by the time you’re ready to climb your mountain, after 4-5 months of intense training, you’re ready to go physically.”

Zurcher is a volunteer hike leader for Climb for Clean Air, an annual fundraiser for the American Lung Association.

Through sponsors, the volunteers who train and climb raise money to research treatments for lung diseases.

Zurcher joined the cause more than a decade ago. He watched asthma slowly kill his grandfather and has seen his youngest daughter struggle with the disease.

“As a parent, it’s very scary to not be able to see your daughter breathe,” Zurcher said. “She couldn’t breathe in the middle of the night.”

But, Zurcher said, thanks to recent research, his daughter now has medication that helps her effectively manage her asthma.

So Zurcher, along with hundreds of other climbers, continues to give back.

“These are people who are willing to take time out of every weekend to go hiking,” Zurcher said. “To raise funds and to do something good and give back.”

For those interested in joining Climb for Clean Air, there is an information session on Monday, Feb. 6 and 6:30 p.m. at the REI in Northwest Portland.

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