Kerry Ann Dobies climbing to fight for air

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Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro might be considered a pinnacle of success for some, but for Kerry Ann Dobies, a different kind of climb is closer to her heart.

A graduate student at Yale School of Public Health (YSPH), Dobies is one of several people at Yale who will participate in “Scale 360 State Street.” The event is sponsored by the American Lung Association to raise money in support of their mission to improve lung health and prevent lung disease.

Dobies will be climbing to remember and honor her close friend, Catherine Brunel, who passed away from lung cancer in 2011.  “She was my host mom during my year long study abroad in Paris, France, in 2005 … and like a second mother to me as I navigated the enchanting but unfamiliar waters of Paris” says Dobies.

“I spent a few years working overseas at a school in Rwanda and got to travel around East Africa during the school holidays. During one break, I had the chance to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, and since then I’ve really enjoyed hiking and climbing stairs,” she says.

At Yale, Dobies is focusing on maternal and child health/child nutrition in the Health Policy and Global Health Program at YSPH.

On Feb. 9 she will join 10 YSPH teammates and others from Yale and the region — including a team of firefighters in full gear — to climb the 32 flights of stairs (that’s about 530 steps) at 360 State St.

Dobies is training for the event by climbing the stairs at Payne Whitney Gym a few times a week. While it is only 13 stories high, the gym has over 400 stairs, she notes.

Others at Yale are also in training. Denise Meyer, YSPH web coordinator, has been climbing the stairs at the State Street Station in New Haven while waiting for her train.

Melanie Elliot, coordinator for graduate student affairs at YSPH, participated in the event last year and decided to create the YSPH team this year.  She has been training at 60 College St. and notes that “the stairs at 360 State St. are a lot easier to climb.”

Shana Schneider, director of communications at Yale’s Office of International Affairs, who is part of the team FITWEEK, says she is “climbing for the challenge and to support a good cause … I’m keeping up with my Zumba fitness classes to work on cardio and making sure I take the stairs whenever I can during the day.”

To learn more about how to support the individuals, teams, and event, visit the American Lung Association of the Northeast website.

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