American Lung Association: Fight For Air Climb

Posted: January 14, 2010 in 1

 Join the Climb with Fox Chicago Meteorologist Amy Freeze
To Sign up on Team Fox Chicago http://ala.convio.net/site/TR/StairClimb/ALAUM_Upper_Midwest?px=3114981&pg=personal&fr_id=1330

On March 28th I’ll be doing the American Lung Association Fight for Air Climb at Chicago’s Presidential Towers, it will be my first time to complete all four towers! Whether you do one tower or all four — I hope you’ll join me for the challenge.

First, a little genealogy from the Freeze Family. I am the oldest granddaughter for my father Bill Freeze’s side of the family. He was the oldest of his family of four children. Now there are 16 grandchildren and 23 great grand children . The point is… I was the first grandchild! I like to think I was somewhat of the favorite of my grandparents Mary and Dale Freeze!

Being the first can have some real benefits… you get spoiled with all the attention of course and there are lots of special privileges. Being the oldest, I was the first to get to have sleepovers at Grandma’s house and go out on other special outings with them. My favorite times were the trips across the Ohio River from our home in Indiana to Louisville where my grandparents loved to ride on the Steamboat “The Bell of Louisville”. They attended all my school and church events. One of my most vivid memories of my grandfather was following my baptism at the age of 8, when we shared breakfast together and he told me how proud he was of me! Lots of fun times. And although I don’t have any proof or positive evidence, I just know I was the favorite grandchild! Great memories that I look back at now and am certain that they had a direct impact in shaping the person I am today.

When I was just 13, my Grandfather had major open heart surgery with Dr.William Devries, one of the pioneers in heart surgery in Louisville, KY. The surgery was complicated and draining but my Grandpa Freeze made a full recovery. His heart stronger than ever.

What came next was a total blow. He was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was a high school athlete so, it was not until his military service that he picked up the habit of smoking. Grandpa Freeze’s assignment was as an Air Traffic Controller. (they say everyone smoked in the military but air traffic controllers twice as much because it was such a nerve racking assignment!) Returning from war, he became a successful businessman traveling often to Chicago for his furniture sales job. Congruent with the popular trends at the time, he continued to smoke and did so heavily for 30 years. A health scare in the mid ’80s convinced him to stop cold turkey. In fact, Grandpa Freeze quit smoking the year I was born, about 13 years before he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Doctors and medical research point to smoking as the leading cause of terminal lung cancer. I was a freshman in high school when I came home from a week at cheerleading camp to find out that my Grandfather had passed away. It was a crushing blow for the entire family to lose such a lovable man way too soon.

As you might imagine, experiences like those leave an impression on a young person that is never forgotten. I have never smoked a cigarette, never even one puff, not even held one in my hand. Some people ask, “Oh, didn’t you just try once, or just experiment with your friends?” Nope, not once. I made the decision that I never wanted to start a habit that would become an addiction that I could not break. I knew I couldn’t predict every course my life might take but I knew that I did not want to jeopardize my health for the short or the long term. We know so much more about our health and how to take care of ourselves than our relatives did 30 to 40 years ago. Everyone has their reasons for starting bad habits. But bad habits don’t have to ruin us. There is help today that makes hard habits easier to break. The American Lung Association’s work has been proven as one of the more effective ways to quit smoking. This year’s fundraiser the Fight for Air Climb will benefit the work that the American Lung Association does everyday and I am thrilled to be a part of it! See you at the top!

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