SANDPOINT — With more than 60 pounds of turnout gear weighing on them, local firefighters will again take on the 69 flights of stairs, 1,356 steps and 788 feet of elevation of Seattle’s Columbia Center in March.
Selkirk Fire, Rescue and EMS firefighters participate in the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb each year, raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in an effort to find a cure for those battling blood cancer. With 11 Selkirk firefighters training for the 29th annual stairclimb competition, their goal is to raise $18,000 for LLS.
“This year, we will be climbing for two members of our community diagnosed with leukemia,” Gwen Le Tutour, Selkirk firefighter and team captain for the stairclimb, said in an email to the Daily Bee.
To help reach their goal, the Selkirk Fire team is hosting a fundraiser at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, at The Longshot in Sandpoint. All proceeds will go to LLS, and there will be drinks, snacks, a raffle, silent auction and more. Some of the top items for the raffle and silent auction include two pairs of skis — one pair donated by Alpine Shop — one unlimited Schweitzer season pass, a cruiser bike from Outdoor Experience, as well as gift baskets from Litehouse, Evans Brothers and La Chic Boutique among other items, Le Tutour said.
Le Tutour said the 10 firefighters who participated in the stairclimb earlier this year raised more than $10,000, so they are stepping it up for the 2020 event.
“We hope that the great prizes generously donated by local businesses will allow us to reach our fundraising goal,” he said.
In March 2019, the event featured more than 2,000 firefighters from around the world who raised a record $2.9 million for LLS. In addition to raising funds, it is a competition, and the top climber with Selkirk Fire — Le Tutour — has made it into the top 25 for the past two years in a row.
In addition to the weight and other physical challenges, the firefighters are also on air with their self-contained breathing apparatus as they make their way to the acclaimed observation deck at the top of the tower. The Scott Firefighter Stairclimb is the world’s largest on-air stair climbing competition, according to the event website. The money raised through sponsorships, individual and department fundraising, and entry fees directly supports the mission of LLS. Each participant is required to raise a minimum of $300, and the event has raised more than $20 million over the years.
Completing the climb is a physical challenge, but it is also symbolic of the strenuous journey that all cancer patients endure, according to the website. As firefighters race to the top of the tower, they keep in mind that every step forward is representative of moving toward finding a cure for those battling a blood cancer.
For information or to make a donation, visit the Selkirk Fire team’s fundraising page at shar.es/a3tBJE.
Tickets for the fundraising event at The Longshot are $20 each, which includes one drink and one raffle ticket. Tickets are available now at The Longshot.
Mary Malone can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.