For Roberts Creek volunteer firefighters Nick Wort and Jim Cambon, it’s deeply personal. These two have decided to join “Climb the Wall”, the BC Lung Foundation’s 22nd annual fundraiser at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre. Nick and his firefighting colleagues have formed a team to climb the Wall’s 48-storey stairwell, raising funds with every floor they climb. (And they do it wearing firefighting gear, too.)
“The Climb is an opportunity to work with our team, and support a cause that hits close to home for many of us. Having lost my mom 25 years ago, lung health has always been near and dear to me” says Jim. Team captain, Nick, adds “My mum passed away from cancer in her 40s, and I know many firefighters who’ve suffered from lung disease. I want to show my support.”
Sunday, Feb. 26, Nick and his firefighting team will climb to raise funds and test their fitness. It’s a challenge, but that only heightens the excitement for Nick, “I love endurance challenges so I’m looking forward to it – being in my late 50s just increases the challenge, especially in my fire gear!”
This year, firefighters – and other participants, of all fitness levels – climb, then celebrate at the “Glow” After Party – a neon/day-glow themed event including a gourmet brunch, a DJ, and glow-themed entertainment. It’s a well-deserved reward after climbing up one of Vancouver’s tallest buildings.
This year, funds raised from Climb the Wall will benefit the BC Lung Foundation’s newest initiative, its Asthma Education Centre. The AEC will provide age-appropriate education about asthma both in-person, and virtually throughout the province, to help 100,000 B.C. kids and youth live a more “normal” life despite their asthma.
Participation in Climb the Wall doesn’t have to end once you’re retired – and Bill Higgs – retired Sechelt Fire Chief, proves just that. “There are so many reasons to Climb - with the amount of smoke firefighters breathe in, cancer runs rampant among us. I strive to bring attention to, and advocate for, better health and awareness by climbing.”
When asked what he found challenging about Climb the Wall, Jim replied: “The added 50 lbs of gear makes it extremely warm. I’ve been working in the Arctic for 30 years, so it’s safe to say this stairwell will be a lot warmer than I’m used to.”
And Bill Higgs adds: “No matter how hard I train, I’m always taken aback by how hard it is to complete. Usually around the 25th floor I’m wondering what I’ve gotten myself into!”
If you’d like to rub shoulders with 200 firefighters, and fitness buffs of all ages and abilities, visit climbthewall.ca. Please note that Climb the Wall capacity is limited.