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25 years of stepping up to CF

Stair Climb at the Plaza will take place March 7

Climbers prepare to race up 42 flights of stairs at the Corning Tower at the Empire State Plaza for the annual Stair Climb to benefit Cystic Fibrosis. Over the past 24 years, almost $1 million has been raised to fund research on the disease and help find a cure. This year's Stair Climb will be on Thursday, March 7.

Climbers prepare to race up 42 flights of stairs at the Corning Tower at the Empire State Plaza for the annual Stair Climb to benefit Cystic Fibrosis. Over the past 24 years, almost $1 million has been raised to fund research on the disease and help find a cure. This year's Stair Climb will be on Thursday, March 7. Submitted Photo

— Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., recently announced its initiation of international Phase 3 clinical trials of Kalydeco in combination with VX-809, a combined CF drug designed to treat the underlying cause of people who have a certain kind of CF mutation. The CF Care Center at Albany Medical is one of the hospitals to start a six-month trial for the new drug, Clark said.

“This is groundbreaking, wonderful news,” Clark said of the new drug, which is different from other drugs because instead of just taking care of CF symptoms, it fixes the problem.

This year, Clark said they are hoping to have at least 200 participants for the Stair Climb and raise $60,000. While many people register in advance, anyone can come out the day of the event as long as they still raise the $125 within 30 days after the stair climb. All ages and levels of strength are welcome. Clark said there are many serious climbers who can run up the stairs in under five minutes, while others take about 20 to 30 minutes to walk up.

Any individual that raises $1,000 or more through their sponsors will be rewarded with two nights and three days at the High Peaks Resort in Lake Placid, from April 12-14. Medals will also be given out at the event for the fastest times, a Firefighter’s Challenge and the top overall male and female finishers.

Many climbers also either have CF or know someone with the disease. Michelle Breton, the honorary chair of the event, will take on her 18th stair climb at this year’s event. Her sister, Mary, was diagnosed with CF at 2 years old and climbed the stairs herself for nine years.

“She loved school and she loved parties. We did the stair climb around her third birthday because she thought it was a party,” Breton said. “She saw all of the people, heard the music … it became her favorite event.”

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