By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
Coalhurst firefighters will be participating in the Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge.
The challenge, which will be held on Sunday, May 5, will see hundreds of firefighters in full gear climb Calgary’s Bow Tower.
The annual Stairclimb Challenge was started in 2015.
Kathy Blas, looking to honour her brother Gord Paul, a firefighter who died from cancer, brought the Seattle’s Scott Firefighter Stairclimb to the attention of the Calgary Fire Department, the Calgary Firefighters Benevolent Society (CFBS) and Wellspring Calgary, a cancer charity that provides programs, resources and support to people living with cancer.
The climb supports Wellspring Calgary, who will gift a portion of the event’s proceeds to the Firefighters Assistance Charitable Society (FACS), which helps firefighters and their families get access to assistance and resources during their time of need.
This will be the second year that members of the Coalhurst Fire Department will be participating in the stairclimb.
“A couple of members decided they wanted to give it a try, see if they could do the climb as well as work to raise some funds,” said Matt Conte, Coalhurst fire chief. “They did that last year, and the same group wanted to do it again this year, and we opened it up for another team to go as well.”
The department has finalized the two teams of four for the stairclimb, and registration for the teams should be completed soon.
Registering for the climb costs $200. Each team member has to pay a $50 registration fee, and fundraise the remaining $150 by early March. Once the teams have finished registering, they will receive fundraising links to help raise money for the event.
As of press deadline, one team was registered for the stairclimb as the Coalhurst Fire Department.
“It’s going to help kind of support the Calgary Firefighter’s cause and what they’re trying support with their charities. Supporting the other department and the other programs going on out there, as well as it is going to be a good morale and exercise basically for the members to take,” said Conte. “Climbing the BOW Tower in full turnout gear, I was thinking it was going to be a challenge for them.”
As their full SCBA turnout gear weighs 60-75 lbs, the firefighters have a challenge ahead of them as they climb the 1,204 steps of the Bow Tower — a height of 775 feet.
Last year, 480 firefighters climbed the Bow Tower during the challenge.
For more information, visit https://calgarystairclimb.com.