As the team from Fire District 23 arrived at the Columbia Center in Seattle March 10 for the annual Scott Firefighter Stairclimb, reality hit them.
“It was an eye-opening experience,” said team leader Tim Pollock. “We were realizing we were climbing this – 1,311 steps, 788 vertical feet with our full bunker gear.”
But race up the 69 flights of stairs they did to the skyscraper’s observation deck, raising $3,000 in the process for blood cancer research.
The Ashford-based firefighters joined other fire departments from throughout Washington and the Pacific Northwest in supporting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with money through individual and department fund-raising and entry fees. In 2012, the event featured 1,550 firefighters from 291 departments and brought in a record $1.2 million for blood-cancer research and patient services, and similar results were expected this year.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.
“It was a long day that started for us at 5 a.m.,” Pollock said of this year’s Stairclimb.”We had to be up and on the road to arrive at 7:30 for check-in and find a space for us to call home for the day.”
But the effort was worth it, he said, “and we are still taking donations until the 29th of March.” More information about how to help can be found online at www.firefighterstairclimb.org.
Firefighters were timed as they made their way up the stairs to the top of Seattle’s tallest building and the second-tallest west of the Mississippi River. The fastest finishers among the six for District 23 members who put themselves to the test were Shawn Mahoney, Kevin Ross and Scott Beason.
Also participating was Graham Fire and Rescue. Its best finishers included Erubiel Clara, George Saenz and Ingrid Mortensen.
The top team marks were by the Boise (Idaho) Fire Department, which raised the most money ($39,231), and the Missoula (Mont.) City Fire Division, whose members had the fastest combined time.