Climbing in memory of her mother, local woman creating memories during Fight For Air Climb

Every step that Sara Schluge climbs is a reminder.

“When I’m feeling that pain, I channel that to my mom, and I think about this probably doesn’t even come close to the pain she was feeling on a daily basis.”

This is the fifth year Sara will climb in memory of her mother, Sandi.

“We had lost my mom in 2011 to COPD,” Sara said, “and we were ready sort of emotionally to channel that to something for a greater cause.”

Sara and her siblings found that greater cause with the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb.

"I think the first year my brother and sister and I climbed together it was pretty emotional."

The trek to the top of 47 flights is a physical challenge and an emotional journey.

"We always have a stairwell sign that recognizes my mom so going by that stairwell sign that says 'we do this for you, mom,' always touches me."

Sara's crew of climbers has now grown to include two of her young sons. "We refer to my mom as ‘Grandma in Heaven’ so they know that we're climbing stairs for people like grandma in heaven who struggle with breathing and lung disease."

What started as a way to remember her mother is now creating memories for Sara's sons and giving them a connection to the grandmother they never knew.

"When you have small kids that don't know a loved one you want to find a way learn about her and to know about her and this has been something that has helped me to bring them closer to her memory and give them something to honor her."

Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer of both men and women in the country, and more than 800,000 Hoosiers will be impacted by lung disease.

To help combat those staggering numbers, hundreds will join Sara in the Fight for Air Climb. Click here if you’d like to register to participate or make a donation.