Hustle Chicago charity stair climb moves from Hancock building to Soldier Field

  • A participant in a previous Hustle Chicago charity stair climb is greeted by a crowd of enthusiastic supporters at the finish line. This year's event will take place at Soldier Field April 18.

    A participant in a previous Hustle Chicago charity stair climb is greeted by a crowd of enthusiastic supporters at the finish line. This year's event will take place at Soldier Field April 18. Courtesy of Kelsey Wright

 
 
Posted4/6/2021 6:00 AM

A Chicago tradition is going to look a little different in 2021.

The Hustle Chicago stair climb, formerly known as Hustle Up the Hancock, will take place Sunday, April 18. But the fundraiser is trading out one historic landmark for another. This year's event will take place outdoors at Soldier Field.

 

The Hustle raises funds to benefit Respiratory Health Association, which offers lung health programs and education and advocates for cleaner air.

Erica Krutsch, director of marketing and communications for Respiratory Health Association, discusses the organization and the upcoming fundraiser.

Q: What is the Respiratory Health Association? Give a brief overview of what the organization does and who you serve.

A: Respiratory Health Association has been the Chicago area's local lung health leader since 1906. We work to prevent lung disease, promote clean air and help people live better lives through education, research and policy change.

To achieve that goal, we collaborate with researchers to find new treatments and cures for diseases like asthma, COPD and lung cancer; empower adults and children with lung disease by teaching them skills to manage their health; deliver evidence-based quit smoking programs to people looking to kick the habit; and work with lawmakers to create laws and policies that build a more equitable and sustainable future.

We work hard to target our programs at the communities that need them the most and collaborate with other community organizations to help as many people across the region as possible.

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A Hustle Chicago charity stair climb participant is all smiles as he makes his way up the Hancock Building at a previous event. Due to the pandemic, this year's fundraiser will take place outside at Soldier Field April 18.
A Hustle Chicago charity stair climb participant is all smiles as he makes his way up the Hancock Building at a previous event. Due to the pandemic, this year's fundraiser will take place outside at Soldier Field April 18. - Courtesy of Eric Clarke/eClarke Photo

Q: Where do the majority of your donations come from?

A: The majority of our donations come from our event participants and their fundraising campaigns among friends and family. We also have a smaller group of people who choose to donate directly to RHA without participating in events.

Q: How many people per year do you serve?

A: We serve every resident in Illinois with our efforts to protect clean air and improve access to health care across the state. Our programs reach thousands of people living with lung diseases like COPD and asthma each year -- and we are always looking to expand.

Each year we host the largest COPD education conference in the country for patients and their caregivers. Our school-based asthma education has helped nearly 20,000 kids with asthma better manage their condition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Q: What are some of your programs?

A: Fight Asthma Now -- education that helps kids with asthma manage their health by identifying their asthma symptoms, recognizing their asthma triggers, and properly using their medications.

• Living Better Together COPD Conference -- the largest COPD education conference in the country for patients and their caregivers. The conference takes place in Rolling Meadows each November.

• Courage to Quit -- a tobacco cessation program for adults that has been proven to be far more successful at helping people quit smoking than trying alone or going cold turkey.

Q: Tell us about the Hustle Chicago charity stair climb. How does it work?

A: Hustle Chicago stair climb is back from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 18, for our first-ever outdoor event at historic Soldier Field!

Participants at our 2021 climb will see Soldier Field in a whole new light, all while taking steps toward a future free of lung disease.

Participants will climb in one of eight assigned sections of the stadium's upper deck (400 level), in waves that include eight climbers. Climbers will go in loops, taking the stairs of their designated section up and down as many times as they can during a 20-minute period. Each stair section will be designated for one-way foot traffic and climber start times will be spaced out by 20 seconds to follow social distancing guidelines.

If you're interested in participating but not at the in-person climb, we are excited to offer a fun and interactive virtual experience. Virtual climbers will join a community of lung health heroes from locations near and far for fitness activities, challenges, and more!

Volunteers show off the medals given out to participants at a previous Hustle Chicago charity stair climb. The event, formerly called Hustle Up the Hancock, benefits Respiratory Health Association.
Volunteers show off the medals given out to participants at a previous Hustle Chicago charity stair climb. The event, formerly called Hustle Up the Hancock, benefits Respiratory Health Association. - Courtesy of Kelsey Wright

Q: How can people participate?

A: Spaces are still available for the in-person climb at Soldier Field and our interactive virtual event experience. The registration fee is $55 and $100 charitable pledge. Virtual event registration costs $35. Visit resphealth.org/hustle to learn more.

Q: How can readers help if they can't participate in the event?

A: Respiratory Health Association accepts general donations all year round at resphealth.org/donate. If you're interested in advocating for laws that promote clean air and support people living with lung disease, you can join our advocacy efforts. If you'd like to stay in touch about RHA's work and future event opportunities, join our email list.

Q: What else would you like readers to know?

A: Our next special event will be our CowaLUNGa Charity Bike Tour July 31 to Aug. 2. It is a fully supported ride from northern Illinois into southern Wisconsin. All experience levels are welcome and there are multiple route options available. More details and registration will be available later this spring.

• • •

Hustle Chicago stair climb

What: Fundraiser to benefit Respiratory Health Association

When: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 18

Where: Soldier Field, 1410 Museum Campus Drive, Chicago; enter at Soldier Field, Gate 45 ramp, across from Field Museum

Cost: $55 registration fee and $100 charitable pledge; virtual event registration is $35

Details: resphealth.org/hustle

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