A former army soldier with barely one functioning lung is planning to climb the world's tallest free-standing mountain.

Adam Faatz, a 36-year-old American man, was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in 2018 and hopes to scale Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa in January to raise money for charity and awareness of respiratory diseases that kill hundreds of thousands of people.

There is no cure for pulmonary fibrosis, and life expectancy, for most, is about five years, Faatz says.

“I know I’m in the 1% that have already outlived that prognosis, so why not spend whatever time I have left to raise money for the charities who are trying to help.”

The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ are among the charities Adam is helping to raise funds to support.


Adam’s disease was discovered by accident when the damage had already been done.

It is believed to be a result of the burn pits used in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he was deployed as a US Army solider.

At the time of discovery, in 2018, surgeons had to remove most of his left lung. The disease has now spread to his right lung.

“After my diagnosis, I felt like I didn’t have a purpose,” Faatz says.

“It contributed to my mental health struggles, it drained bank accounts, caused anxiety and depression, and made me feel isolated. I felt numb.

“I know what it’s like to suffer, but I also know that you can overcome it."

“I just needed help, and now I want to help others."

To come to terms with his diagnosis, Faatz turned to the outdoors and became the first person with pulmonary fibrosis to climb New York’s Mt Marcy.

Mt Kilimanjaro, standing at about 20,000 feet, is his next challenge. It will take nine days.

If successful, Faatz will be the first person in the world with pulmonary fibrosis to complete this –and the first person to climb it with less than one working lung.

“This has been a long and challenging journey, but I wanted to prove that those living with pulmonary fibrosis can still be resilient even when living with a debilitating illness."

"At this moment, I want to seek adventure and thrills for as long as I can and I'm doing it for all of us in the pulmonary fibrosis community."

To help Adam on his mission, you can follow him and donate here: http://bit.ly/47Wu2M5

What is Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)?

It a serious condition that affects the delicate tissues of the lungs. Normally the lung tissue is soft and flexible which means it is easy to breathe, but in someone with IPF the lung tissue stiffens and becomes damaged from scarring. The process of the scarring of the lungs is called fibrosis, and once it has occurred the tissue does not recover.

How many New Zealander’s does it effect?

How commonly IPF occurs is not clearly known, but a reasonable estimate would be around 5 cases per 10,000 individuals.

What causes IPF?

Although the cause of IPF is not known, a number of factors are thought to trigger it:

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