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Local Woman Climbs Tower to Raise Awareness for Lung Cancer After Brother’s Sudden Death

(November 19, 2019) - KANSAS CITY

For more information please contact:

Jill Thompson
[email protected]

In 2016, Kansas City’s Becky Berry was shocked to learn that her healthy, 41-year-old brother was diagnosed with state IV lung cancer. Unfortunately, just a few months later, her brother passed away. Now she is sharing her story and climbing the tallest tower in Kansas City to raise awareness for this deadly disease.

In the fall of 2016, Berry’s brother, Matt Sharpe, got sick. He went to the emergency room at the local hospital a few times, but they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. They soon sent him to St. Louis for more comprehensive tests.

“On October 4, I got the call he had stage IV lung cancer,” said Berry. “He was never a smoker and had no symptoms, so it came out of nowhere. How in the world did he have lung cancer and how was it stage IV? We went into fight mode.”

Just a couple weeks later, Berry’s brother suffered a major stroke because of lung cancer. Sharpe spent the next few days in the intensive care unit, where he had several additional strokes. After that, he was moved to a stroke rehabilitation facility to regain daily function.

“Once he was able to speak again, hearing ‘you’re annoying me’ were some of the greatest words I could hear him say. I am after all his little sister – that is what we are supposed to do!” said Berry.

Following stroke rehab, he started intense radiation to fight the lung cancer. During December, the family worked to make memories and have birthdays in the hospital. Unfortunately, Matt passed away on January 2, 2017.

Berry first participated in the Fight For Air Climb in early 2016 before her brother even got sick, but now she climbs for a much different reason.

“In 2016, I had climbed because I thought it would be a fun challenge. After my brother’s journey, climbing now has a much deeper meaning for me. I climb in honor of Matt and his horrific three-month fight against a cancer that took him from us. We love you Matt!” she said.

On March 1, Berry will compete in her fifth Fight For Air Climb at One Kansas City place with her family. For the event, she will climb the stairs of One Kansas City Place (42 floors, 902 steps) to raise awareness and money to fight lung disease. Learn more and register for the Fight For Air Climb at


About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

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