Special Assignment

Fight for Air Climb has extra special meaning this year

CREATED Mar 18, 2014 - UPDATED: Mar 18, 2014

  • Print
  • Play

MILWAUKEE -- The 2014 Fight for Air Climb is coming up this Saturday, March 22. TODAY'S TMJ4 will again team up with the American Lung Association to sponsor the event. This year's climb is even more meaningful for the TMJ4 family.

Michael Greene was a photojournalist at TMJ4 for over 25 years--until his sudden death earlier this year to lung cancer.

Michelle Wray is Michael's sister. She recalls, "He just loved people."

She tries to remember the good times she had with her twin brother--like their 50th birthday party.

"He was like, 'Michelle we're turning 50. We have to do things real big.'"

Michelle also remembers his mission trips to Haiti and Africa. "I remember he called me and was just in tears and broke down and said, 'I don't think I can handle this. He's like, Michelle, they don't have anything.'"

Michael died in January--just 11 days after his diagnosis. He was only 53 years old.

"When we all leave this world we should leave it being able to do something we had a passion for," Michelle says.

Michelle will join family and friends for the Fight for Air Climb this weekend. 'Team Mike Greene' will honor the man--and also raise money for a great cause. Michelle beams, "I'm excited. I think Michael would be excited and I know he's smiling."

This is the event's 6th year. Climbers will once again scale to the top of the tallest building in Wisconsin. Last year, teams and individual walkers raised over $550,000 for the American Lung Association of Wisconsin.

Megan Cordova is with the association. She explains, "This climb is very important. 90 cents on every dollar goes back into our programs and services. So we're working towards healthy lungs and healthy air."

It's not just for super athletes. People of all ages can take the climb Saturday.

"We really say if you can walk a mile you can participate in this event. So you can really take your time in the stairwell or go as fast as you'd like," Cordova assures.

Michelle knows her brother would be proud they're helping people. While Michael is no longer with us, she feels certain of one thing. "He got to do many of the things he wanted to do so that gives me a lot of peace."

You can still register online for the climb, or make a donation. The American Lung Association hopes to bring in over $600,000 this time around. Over 2,500 people will take to the stairs at the U.S. Bank building this weekend.