Double Lung Transplant Recipient Trains to Climb 85 Floors

DES MOINES, Iowa --It was difficult for one metro man to climb a flight of stairs in his home just eight years ago. In a couple months, he'll conquer some of the tallest buildings in downtown Des Moines.

Taking the stairs takes on a whole new meaning when you're climbing to the top. Tom Muselman said, "You start out like you can conquer the world and then you slow down a bit."

Muselman is training for the American Lung Association's Fight for Air Climb. Participants take 1,796 steps to 85 floors in four downtown buildings, including the Ruan Center.

He's done it for eight years with his sons Jeff and Jason. Jeff Muselman said, "When everything happens it really puts it all in perspective. Every breath is a gift, as we say."

They started Team 27 in honor of Tom, who had a double lung transplant in June of 2009 after battling sarcoidosis for nearly three decades. Tom said, "I had it on the 27th of June. I was the 27th recipient of a double lung transplant at the University of Iowa Hospital. I had my disease for 27 years before that."

1,500 people will take part in the Fight for Air Climb on Sunday, April 8th. It's a big event for the American Lung Association and they'll raise $350,000 in Des Moines. This is the 15th year for the event in Des Moines. Executive Director of the American Lung Association in Iowa Micki Sandquist said, "The money goes to support our mission of saving lives, and it goes to our educational programs, our services, our advocacy efforts, our research. Last year in research, we gave over $6 million just in lung cancer research alone."

Team 27 has raised more than $220,000 in the last eight years, and it plans to add to that one step at a time. Tom said, "When you're done, you feel really good.”

The Fight for Air Climb is Sunday, April 8th. It starts at the YMCA Downtown. You can sign up at There is a $25 registration fee, and a fundraising requirement of $100 per person.