Spokane firefighters prepared to battle leukemia, lymphoma

SPOKANE, Wash. - For Spokane firefighters climbing stairs to save lives is just part of their job, but this weekend they're doing it for another reason: To raise money in the fight against leukemia and lymphoma.

Wednesday morning firefighters were busy getting ready for their trip to Seattle this weekend for the 22nd Annual Scott Firefighter Stair Climb.

"We climb 69 flights at the Columbia Center in full firefighter gear, turnouts, on air, in all our gear, so it's actually very challenging," Spokane Fire Lt. Kelly Smith said.

Last year the stair climb in Seattle raised over $1.2 million.

Firefighters stair climb vo

"District 9 has a big team going out, District 10 we have 24 firefighters going over from the City of Spokane," Smith said.

Fire crews are converging on Seattle this weekend not just from the Pacific Northwest but from all over the world.

"We have teams from Germany, Switzerland, New Zealand, Canada also, so this is a pretty big deal people from all over come and take part," said Smith.

There's a reason they all rally behind this cause, Smith said. Firefighters have three times the greater risk of developing multiple myeloma, and local firefighters have a very emotional, very personal tie to this fundraiser.

One of their own, John Knighten, is battling multiple myeloma cancer. The father of three is in Seattle now for his second bone marrow transplant.

"A lot of what we do is in honor of him and people like that so this is a really worthy cause for firemen it hits us at home, it hits us where we live, and as we know leukemia strikes children. We will do anything for the kids, so that's why we're down here," Smith said.