Every year firefighters from around the country, and even some from other countries, compete in a grueling stair climb up the tallest building in Seattle, Washington to raise money to help find a cure for leukemia. Each year they raise millions of dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

You can see another post about the Stair Climb here.

Here’s a few shots from the event:

Firefighter gear Checking firefighter's boots
checking boot with magnet Scottish Band
Firefighter starts his timer and the race begins! Tired firefighter completes his climb to the top
150 volunteers work hard to make the Scott Firefighter Climb a success. View from the top of the Seattle Columbia Center building.
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[Editor’s note: In March 2015 I was privileged to watch this event as a member of the media.]

Firefighters wait to begin their race to the top of the Columbia Tower.

In March of 2015 over 1900 firefighters rushed up Seattle’s tallest building.

There was no fire. Except perhaps in the hearts of the men and women who each year don full gear weighing 80 lbs and race up 69 floors, that’s 1,311 steps, raising millions of dollars to fight leukemia.

The Scott Firefighter Stairclimb, the world’s largest firefighter competition, is held each year at the Columbia Center building in Seattle, Washington. Known locally as the Columbia Tower, it stands 943 feet. It is the tallest building in Seattle and the second tallest on the west coast.

Many of the climbers carry photos on their helmets with the names of loved ones and friends. Some are of people fighting, even beating, the disease. Others read “in memory of…”Billings, Montana Firefighter team at the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb in Seattle

“Our tallest building is only 23 stories so we can’t even really train for this”, said Chris Voller, a member of a firefighter team from Billings, Montana. “We’re climbing for Avery [last name withheld].  She’s back in Billings cheering us on. She’s on her third round of chemo now but she’s out ‘til probably April. She is following the posts showing the times (our team makes) and we send her pictures all the time.

Firefighters raise money for special girl with CLL and wear photos of her on their helmets.“That’s her on our helmets. She’s a little cadet of ours. We adopted her as our junior cadet and got her a stuffed ‘fire rabbit’ with a fire uniform on it. She’s lovin’ it.”

”I’m climbing for Breonia,” said firefighter Kelly Smith. This is my 8th year racing for her.” According to Smith Breonia’s family came every year to watch Kelly race until their daughter died a few years ago at age 13.Firefighter Kelly Smith at the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb in Seattle

This writer's son, Guy Smith, waits for his turn to climb the tower.The climb raises millions of dollars each year for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. But beyond the money, the event has a special place in this writer’s heart. My own son, Guy, has done the climb for the last three years. He says he is climbing the tower for me.

There’s more stories to tell about the brave men and women who save lives every day and one day each year fight to beat leukemia.

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Columbia Tower... we made it to the top.. Whew!

Columbia Tower… we made it to the top.. Whew!

My son, Guy, and my wife, Willie, joined me this year.

My son, Guy, and my wife, Willie, joined me this year.

Well, I don’t usually write on the weekends but a new reader/follower, Richard Swift, sent a comment asking if I was still writing since I hadn’t done so for some time. His ‘Kick-in-the-buns’ got me going again and I was inspired to write a new post today:

This last March 20, 2016 I did the Big Climb in Seattle. I was joined by my son, who did it with me last year, and by my wife who was doing it for her first time.

We climbed the emergency stairwell of the Columbia Center Building. It is the tallest building in Seattle and the second tallest west of the Mississippi. We climbed 69 floors – 1,311 steps – to help raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. That’s 788 feet straight up! The view at the top is amazing.

Over 6,000 people participated earning around $3,ooo,ooo dollars.

As you climb the stairs there are posters on the wall at each flight. Some are showing sponsored survivors, some are remembrances of those who’ve passed on. Some climbers on their way up touch the posters.

Complete strangers give each other high fives as they pass by on the way up. Six thousand participants and hundreds of volunteer coordinators, all strangers united for one cause… well, it is a great experience.

If any of you want to participate in next years 2017 Climb, registration will begin in October of this year. You can check out the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Big Climb page, call (206) 628-0777, or email bigclimbseattle@lls.org. You can watch a video about the climb here.

This was the civilian climb. I say that because there is also a firefighter climb for the same cause two weeks prior. I’ll be writing more in-depth about that one soon.

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Columbia Tower in SeattleWell, this is it… The “Big Climb” I talked about in my last post is happening this Sunday (March 22). My son and I are trudging up the Columbia Tower in Seattle – 778 vertical feet! That’s it in the photo. It’s the tallest building in Seattle.

Actually, we’re not the only ones. We and 6,000 others are making the climb to help raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the research for curing blood cancers.

All proceeds benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Please support the cause by going to www.bigclimb.org and clicking donate. Type in my name (Jim Smith) and make your donation. Thanks for supporting me in the fight against blood cancers!

Btw, although the climb is this Sunday (March 22), they are receiving funds until April 1.

Thanks for supporting the fight against blood cancers!

If you want to see a video about The Big Climb, click here.

 

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