Local firefighters climb stairs to battle deadly diseases

Leukemia and lymphoma are two diseases that firefighters are particularly prone to in their dangerous line of work. Each year in March, firefighters from around the world travel to Seattle for the annual stairclimb at the Columbia Center. Ahead of that big day, local teams compete and hold fundraisers locally to raise awareness and money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Chris Wetherell is a lieutenant with the Spokane Airport Fire Department. His crew along with Spokane city firefighters make up the Local Firefighters Union 29 team.

“We’re always thinking about the people who have come down with leukemia and lymphoma and the families, what they go through. A little bit of pain that we are going through here is nothing compared to what they’re going through,” said Wetherell.

Monday morning his crew set up a stair climber at the Spokane International Airport to collect donations and prepare for the Seattle event. In full gear, they’ll compete to be the fastest to climb 69 stories (1,300 stairs) to reach the top floor of the Columbia Center.

“It’s surreal. We go over there and you have firefighters that come from all over the world to climb the Columbia tower. We get over there and you’ve got the pipes and drums playing, ramping it all up and everybody’s getting jacked up,” said Wetherell.

His team will set up down at Riverpark Square this Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. climbing and collecting your donations. You can also help out and have fun February 21 at O’doherty’s downtown from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Fore more information on that event and the stairclimb in general click here.