Rose Bombagetti and Janet Sienicki are accustomed to participating in physical challenges in support of the Respiratory Health Association.
Among them was an event in which they climbed the stairwells of the John Hancock Center to raise money for the group, which fights lung disease through research, advocacy and education.
Having gone up a large building for the cause, they're now ready to come down. They're not taking the stairs, this time.
“This has escalated,” Bombagetti said.
Bombagetti, of Cedar Lake, and Sienicki, of Schererville, have decided to participate in Sunday’s Skyline Plunge. They are among the dozens of participants set to rappel down the Wit Hotel in Chicago to raise funds and awareness for respiratory diseases.
The women said they aren’t nervous about rappelling the 278-foot-tall building, but that could change once they reach the top of the structure.
As they have in past Respiratory Health Association events, Bombagetti and Sienicki are participating in honor of Andy Heck.
Heck, a Leroy native, suffered during his childhood from bronchiolitis obliterans, which had left him with 8 percent lung capacity.
He was placed on a lung transplant list and eventually had surgery in late 2007 at St. Louis Children's Hospital.
Following the transplant, Heck’s health and lung capacity improved.
Kari Ross, a Valparaiso native, also is participating in the Skyline Plunge, according to the Respiratory Health Association.
Ross decided to rappel in memory of her grandfather, who died from lung cancer.
For four years, Ross was a nanny for a boy who suffers from asthma. She also is participating in honor of him.
“Not everyone understands how much people living with respiratory diseases such as lung cancer, COPD or asthma struggle,” Ross told the Respiratory Health Association. “These diseases can be debilitating, and I want to help others breathe easier.”
Visit www.skylineplunge.org for information about the event and to donate to participants’ fundraising goals.