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June 01, 2015 at 07:24 PM EDT

Michael Stanger is racing for his wife’s life.

On tonight’s episode of American Ninja Warrior, Stanger, 31, of Utah takes on the course after waiting eight hours in line to compete on the competition show. Training for ANW gave Stanger a goal while he cared for his wife, a wheelchair user and mother of their two young children, after she was diagnosed with a terminal genetic disorder. 

“I never expected to talk about my wife’s death so much but she could die,” Stanger says.

Here’s an exclusive look of his backstory:

American Ninja Warrior airs at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

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