INDIANAPOLIS, IN | March 8, 2022
Ever since Sara Schluge lost her mother Sandra Beeler to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Mother’s Day has always been bittersweet. Although a mom herself, not having her mom to celebrate on Mother’s Day has been difficult. Now, she will honor her mother and climb over 2,000 steps with family, friends and colleagues at the American Lung Association in Indiana’s Fight For Air Climb, presented by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, at Lucas Oil Stadium on Mother’s Day, May 8th.
“To be able to do something like the Climb on Mother’s Day is the perfect way for me to celebrate her and celebrate myself and other moms with my family and friends,” said Schluge. “I also love incorporating a form of exercise on that day because physical fitness and health are very important to me. I want to be around as long as I can for my three boys, because no one should have to lose their mom like I did when I was only 33.”
As the Climb’s presenting sponsor since 2015, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield team has raised nearly $100,000 for the Lung Association.
“I feel very fortunate to work for an organization who has been a longstanding supporter of lung health and the Lung Association through their sponsorship of the Climb and through programmatic grants from the company’s Foundation,” said Schluge.
Schluge, who is participating in her eighth climb, leads the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield team, which is the top fundraising team for the Climb with about $18,000 raised. In addition, Schluge is the top individual fundraiser.
“Many of my co-workers who donate to me and the Climb every year are people who came to my mom’s visitation when she passed. They were there when I lost my mom and continue to support me through the Climb,” said Schluge. “I’ve also been fortunate to have a lot of co-workers who are repeating climbers on the team who are stellar fundraisers and who also have personal connections to lung cancer, COPD and asthma.”
Beeler started smoking cigarettes at 16 years old and never could quit. At age 40, she was diagnosed with emphysema. Beeler also had a history of asthma. Around 2003, she was diagnosed with COPD. In her remaining years, Beeler could barely walk across a room without being winded. Beeler was on oxygen full time for a year before she passed away from COPD in 2011 at the age of 60.
Schluge is currently financial accounting and reporting manager at Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and a member of the Indianapolis Climb Committee at the Lung Association. In addition to honoring Schluge’s mother, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield team is also climbing in recognition of Tina Schubert, a tax associate at the company who passed away in June 2021 due to pulmonary fibrosis.
Funds raised at the Indianapolis Climb will support the Lung Association’s efforts to end lung cancer and lung disease through local programs, advocacy efforts and lifesaving research. For more information about the Climb, and to register, visit FightForAirClimb.org/Indianapolis.
The Lung Association is committed to the health and safety of its participants and volunteers. The organization will continue to closely monitor public health conditions and CDC guidelines for COVID-19. Everyone is encouraged to check the Climb website for the most updated information leading up to the event.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org. To support the work of the American Lung Association, find a local event at Lung.org/events.
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