‘No One Should Struggle to Breathe;’ Atlanta Man Climbs Truist Park to Raise Awareness for Lung Disease

Local resident Greg Payne first signed up for the Fight For Air Climb as a fitness challenge, but now he climbs for a much more personal reason. On May 15, he will climb more than 1,600 steps at Truist Park to raise awareness for lung disease as a part of the American Lung Association in Georgia’s Fight For Air Climb.

Eight years ago, Payne heard about the Fight For Air Climb on the radio. He had recently lost weight, so he decided to sign up. When he began fundraising, he quickly learned that he has a connection to the mission of the Lung Association. 

“While doing fundraising I found out my close high school friend was personally touched when her daughter was born prematurely, so had immature lungs and needed surfactant and a ventilator to help her breathe. She was on oxygen and nebulized medications for more than nine months total, and has scar tissue that will never heal,” said Payne. “The American Lung Association funds the research that saved her life and will help give her the quality of life we take for granted. Every year I see Izzy I'm amazed at how far she's come.”

Since then, Payne, who was adopted, reconnected with his biological family and learned his biological father has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

“The Lung Association is so important because it touches everyone. The organization does so much that people don’t realize,” he said. “This year, diseases that affect the lungs became our topic of conversation and changed our lives. Lung diseases were closer than you thought. No one should struggle to breathe. That is why I am participating in the Fight For Air Climb.”

On May 15, Payne will climb in his 8th Fight For Air Climb in Atlanta, but the event will look a little different this year. The event typically takes place in the stairwells of 191 Peachtree Tower but was reimagined as an outdoor climb for the safety of participants, volunteers and staff. For the event, climbers will tackle 1,629 stairs throughout Truist Park.

Registration for the event is $35 and includes a $100 fundraising minimum. For more information, and to register, visit FightForAirClimb.org/Atlanta

Your safety is always our number one priority. We are continually monitoring local conditions that might affect your Climb. Check your local Climb website for the most up-to-date information.

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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