Up to 500 firefighters from all around Alberta joined together to raise money for Wellsprings Calgary, a cancer organization that has a sole purpose of providing support and funding for families who are affected by cancer. To do this, the departments entered the Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge.
Of those numbers, six members of the Lacombe Fire Department attended the event which included Greg Lamy, Zach Walker, Andrew Wilton, Trevor Wilton, Owen Schonewille and Eric Nicholas. These members in total raised almost $2,000 for the cause, according to Walker.
“I know I personally did $800 towards this. Lacombe Fire Department did $1,605 for one team and then the other team did about $310.”
In order to compete in the event, each member is required to raise a minimum of $200 and in total, the entire event raised raised $183,652.
“It was a big event. We had six of us from LFD that went and then there were members from Olds, Calgary, Blackfalds, Carstairs, places as far south as Crowsnest Pass and we had some from Eckville as well.
“During the actual event, we have to go up in our full bunker gear so that means boots, pants, coat jackets and helmets as well as provided SCBA packs (without air) so that can all add up to 50-60 pounds with all that. We climbed a total of 55 floors so that’s 1,204 steps.”
Each team climbed the BOW Building in Calgary, which starts at about 3,400 ft. above sea level.
“The stair climb is the highest due to the elevation of Calgary. There were firefighters from the coast so when they come up here, it’s a harder of a climb for them.”
According to Walker, the Fire Department did very well in terms of time. The record from this year was 12:06 minutes, which was done by Kyle Rebryna of the Calgary Fire Department.
“Owen (Schonewille) did 14 minutes, another member was 15, I was 21 minutes and then there was 23 and 24 minutes right behind there. So we did pretty well, just in the middle of the pack if not a little higher than that,” said Walker.
Walker added the LFD likes to be involved with physical events and fundraisers like this and the department encourages members to get involved.
“We have a pretty active group of members who always like to push ourselves for these events. I myself personally did it for a friend who passed away from cancer so that was a thing for her. The department likes going into these kinds of physically challenging events. They definitely were up to the challenge with this.”