By Chris Bavender
Adam Ritter lost his maternal grandparents to lung cancer and will participate in the May 8 Fight for Air Climb at Lucas Oil Stadium to honor them and help raise awareness of health disparities for minorities.
“Given my personal connection to lung cancer, I am very passionate about finding solutions to end and cure that devastating disease,” said Ritter, a Fishers resident. “The American Lung Association’s State of Lung Cancer 2020 found that about every 2 1/2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with lung cancer, and 4 in 5 of those diagnosed will ultimately die from the disease.
“Additionally, vaping has become a pandemic in and of itself that I think we need to continue to fight back against and educate today’s youth on the dangers and risks associated with vaping.”
When Ritter was in high school, he lost his maternal grandfather to lung cancer.
“I remember he was diagnosed just before Christmas, which was really hard to hear such devastating news so close to one of my family’s favorite holidays, but in a way, it was also a blessing as we were able to cherish and got to spend one last Christmas together,” he said.
When his maternal grandmother was diagnosed a few years later, Ritter said she opted to enjoy her final months and forgo treatment given what his grandfather went through.
“I currently work in the oncology space at Lilly, so it is a passion of mine to help as many people (as possible) suffering from lung disease,” Ritter said.
Ritter will lead Team Lilly, which has a $5,000 fundraising goal.
“Coming out of the pandemic, Lilly is very focused on employee well-being, and this seemed like a natural way for us to come back together as a larger group and do something fun while raising money for an important cause,” he said. “Also, I’m just a little competitive, and when I heard about the previous showings for Team Lilly, I wanted to see if we could meet or exceed those records. We are just trying to garner as much support internally and externally as we.
“Any amount of money to support this cause can make an impact, so we are just focusing on people like my grandparents and how we can help them live longer, healthier lives.”
This will be Ritter’s first Fight for Air Climb. A runner, he said he plans to train on the 14 floors of the Lilly Corporate Center to prepare.
“It will be really surreal to run the stairs of Lucas Oil,” he said. “What a cool venue. I love that folks can spread out and get a chance to run around the stadium. But ask me after more than 2,000 stairs. I am excited to see this city turn up in support of lung health and these efforts, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to be on the field that the Colts play on.
“I’m also really excited to do the climb with my family. I just hope I can keep up with my boys.”