Newswise — In the past nine years Sarah Ridder and seven of her family members have been diagnosed with a progressive lung disease called pulmonary fibrosis. Two brothers and two sisters have since died from the disease. Ridder believes her father and paternal grandmother also may have succumbed to pulmonary fibrosis.

In March 2006, Ridder was given a second chance at life when she received a double lung transplant at Loyola University Medical Center. She is now doing well and preparing to participate in the 17th annual Hustle up the Hancock on Sunday, April 13, with the doctors and nurses who cared for her. Her team, Loyola’s Lung Angels, also consists of other Loyola patients and family members who have been affected by lung disease.

Ridder will join more than 4,000 people in climbing either 94 or 52 floors up the John Hancock Center to raise funds for the Respiratory Health Association's lung disease programs and research. She will take to the stairs at 9 a.m. and expects to finish in 30 minutes.

“I know I am in good hands climbing with the doctors and nurses who cared for me at Loyola,” Ridder said. “I also am grateful to my donor, without whom I would not be able to climb."

Jennifer Johnson, RN, will lead Loyola’s team of climbers. Johnson is part of the largest and most successful lung transplant program in the state of Illinois. She played an integral role in Ridder’s care and will be there by her side as she crosses the finish line.

“It is so satisfying as a nurse to see a patient thriving and beating the odds eight years after a transplant,” Johnson said. “Our climb will honor all of those who have donated organs to help people like Sarah."

Loyola’s Lung Angels have raised more than $6,000 to date. For more information, visit

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