Firefighters from the Redmond Fire Department will once again, tackle the world’s largest “on-air” stair climb competition during the 27th Annual Scott Firefighter Stair Climb on March 11 at the Columbia Center in Seattle. The annual fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) attracts firefighters from around the world and raises money toward finding a cure for leukemia and related blood cancers.
The Redmond firefighters have been aggressively training for the event as well as collecting donations that support the fundraising effort. This year’s team will consist of fire chief Tommy Smith along with Mike Bakke, Eben Dygert, Josh Holthenrichs, Jeff Olsen, Tyler Parnell, Josh Peeples, Brandon Pierce, John Simon and Colten Tupen. The Redmond team will climb 69 flights of stairs in their firefighting gear while using their self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) for the 788-foot vertical gain.
“Running up 69 flights of stairs with 50 pounds of gear is challenging,” according to team leader Bakke. “This challenge pales in comparison to what blood cancer patients go through though. There are some competitive teams this year and a little suffering for a great cause is worth the effort.”
The LLS is the world’s largest volunteer health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services. Every day, more than 350 LLS sponsored researchers come closer to the goal of finding a cure for blood related cancers. Locally, LLS funds researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Redmond residents can help support their local firefighters by contributing to the Redmond team through donations on the Redmond Firefighters Team Page. Contributors should mark the Redmond Fire Department when selecting which fire department they are sponsoring: http://www.llswa.org/site/TR/Events/FirefighterStairclimb?team_id=67090&pg=team&fr_id=1560
Residents can also donate in person from 1-4 p.m. March 4 at the Redmond Trader Joe’s (15932 Redmond Way) where firefighters will be warming up for the “Big Climb.”