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"Fight for Air Climb" hits home for Milwaukee woman
She will climb 1034 steps w/ half of lung function
Posted at 8:07 PM, Mar 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-09 21:08:18-05
MILWAUKEE - It’s one thousand thirty-four steps to the top of the U.S. Bank Center building on a climb with the potential to save lives.
“I have a rare disease, actually it’s more a deficiency in which my body doesn’t produce a protein that protects my lungs," Jennifer Harb-Peterson said.
Jennifer Harb-Peterson’s rare condition is known as alpha one antitrypsin deficiency. She was diagnosed in July of 2014, and she's climbing in Wisconsin’s 9th Annual American Lung Association fight for air climb with nearly half of her lung function.
"[When I was diagnosed] right away the discussion of lung transplants began and it was a bit overwhelming," Harb-Peterson said. "As I was a mom to a beautiful 2 and half year old, it was a bit overwhelming."
Despite the initial shock of the diagnosis, Jennifer said she’s now doing okay. This will be year two of the climb for her, and she said with each step she’s climbing toward improving lung health awareness.
"The only thing I could possibly say is it looks a lot worse than it actually is," Harb-Peterson said. "And if I can do it with 53 percent lung function anybody can do it."
According to Harb-Peterson, the climb hits home for her beyond her own condition. She lost her mother to lung health related issues when she was only 14, and she said she wants to be around a lot longer her for daughter.
This year's climb takes place Saturday, March 18 at the U.S. Bank Center at 6:30 a.m.
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