The Agassiz Fire Department is participating in the Climb the Wall event for the British Columbia Lung Association (BCLA), and this time, they’re not the only local team.
For the first time ever, the Harrison Hot Springs Fire Department is gearing up to carry about 50 lbs of firefighting equipment up approximately 739 stairs and 48 storeys in the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel. Sunday’s event is in support of 20 per cent of British Columbians suffering with lung conditions.
“So many of us have been impacted by lung disease, either personally or through those we love,” reads the website for the Harrison team. “We are challenging our lungs for those that simply cannot.”
Christopher Lam, CEO of the BCLA, was excited to learn Harrison would be participating for the first time this year. He stated as many as 300 firefighters are expected to compete this year – more than double the competitors from last year.
“For many faced with breathing problems, climbing just one flight of stairs is difficult,” Lam said. “No one understands this better than firefighters who, in the line of duty, are called upon to navigate their way up stairs and through smoky buildings at a moment’s notice.”
Four Harrison firefighters are braving the climb this year – Team Captain Sarah Fraser, Zach Martyn, Shaina Marriott and Alex Maslin. The team has, as of Tuesday afternoon, raised $440 in support of the BCLA.
Now in it’s 19th year, the Climb the Wall fundraiser has raised nearly $2 million for their cause, helping fund crucial research, patient support, education and much more. The BCLA helps those affected by such dangerous respiratory conditions as asthma, COPD, sleep apnea, lung cancer and pulmonary fibrosis. The organization additionally advocates for the fight against air pollution and the decline in air quality.
Climbers of any fitness level are welcome to participate in the climb and can participate individually or as a team. Climbers under the age of 12 participate for free, but others wishing to participate must commit to raising a minimum of $125 for fundraising and pay a $25 sign-up fee.
Climb the Wall kicks off with a continental brunch available through the morning at 8:30 a.m. with the climb beginning at 9 a.m. with athletic climbers. 1 in 5 Tribute climbers begin at 9:20 a.m. and the firefighters begin their competition at 10:15 a.m.
For more information on how to join or how you can help, visit www.stairclimb.ca.