MUSKEGO — The massive 47-story US Bank Center downtown presents a mountain to climb, but 8-year-old Kendyll Kloskowski of Muskego has climbed a bigger mountain.
Kendyll has severe asthma that at one time left her too weak to walk. On Saturday, she will climb the tallest building in Wisconsin. Her goal — to raise money for the American Lung Association that fights lung diseases like hers. Thousands of others also will take part in the Fight for Air Climb to benefit the Lung Association.
Her mother, Mickie Kloskowski credits the Lung Association with funding research that ultimately benefited her little girl.
She, her husband Brian and Kendyll's brother and sister will all do the climb on Saturday. So far, there is no cure for asthma, that's why they are helping to raise money for the American Lung Association, Mickie said..
That takes more than a little moxie.Mickie is a runner and says it's a tough climb.
She remembers her first fight for Air Climb five years ago: "I had just run a half marathon and this was harder. I heard several people in the elevator say the same thing."
The worst part isn't that your legs get tired.
"The worst part is your lungs. It burns so bad from the exertion," Kloskowski said. It really is a fight for air, similar to that experienced by her little girl and anyone else with lung disease, she said. It's a taste of what they go through, she said.
While little Kendyll has been the inspiration for family and friends to undertake the climb for five years, Kendyll asked her family last year if it wasn't about time she got to do the climb. Although Kendyll's asthma was stable, her parents had misgivings. But they signed her up anyway, but only for half way up.
On the appointed day, the team joined the thousands headed for the top. She and dad climbed and climbed. At the half-way point, the youngster said, "Dad let's go all the way."
Go for it they did: Kendyll and dad arrived at the top 19 minutes, 34 seconds after they had started.
Her proud mother described her as: "My tiny but mighty fighter."
The proud trio came home to a chorus of we want to do it, too, from 5-year-old sister, Peyton, and 9-year-old brother, Tristan.
This Saturday, everyone will have their climbing shoes on and they're aiming for the top — no half way for the Kloskowski family.
Mickie said that she feels helpless when Kendyll suffers her asthma attacks. But this is something she can do to help.
“If this is how I can help to possibly find a cure, then this is what I will do.”
Anyone can participate, but they must raise the required $100 minimum plus the $45 registration fee. Depending on participation type, climbers start up the stairwell every five seconds, starting at 6:30 a.m. Awards are given to top fundraisers as well as to the fastest finishers. Climbers can walk or run to the top of the tallest building in the state.
The money supports the American Lung Association’s clean air initiatives, programs and research in the fight against lung cancer, asthma, COPD and other lung diseases.
Kendyll is so passionate and articulate about the need to find a cure for lung diseases that the Miss Volunteer Service International named Kendyll its first national princess.