Firefighters gear up again for 48-storey stair climb

Gibsons and Sechelt firefighters will once again be taking the long way up all 48 storeys to the top of the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre in support of the one in five British Columbians affected by a lung or breathing condition.

Held annually for the past 19 years, the BC Lung Association’s Climb the Wall stair climb fundraiser helps fund vital lung patient support programs, research and advocacy initiatives.  This year, organizers anticipate a record turnout for the Feb. 23 climb.

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“Climb the Wall is a rare event in that it allows us to come together as a firefighting community to advocate for a cause that strikes close to home,” said Gibsons firefighter and Climb 2020 team captain, Chris Facchin. 

Stair climbing alongside B.C. firefighters every year is also a large contingent of family, friends and lung health care professionals climbing in tribute to loved ones affected by respiratory illness.

“As firefighters, we routinely find ourselves at risk of exposure to harmful air pollutants,” said Facchin. “While we take precautions and wear special gear to protect ourselves, each fire exposes us to a mix of toxins that can contribute to firefighters’ increased risk of respiratory disease and cancer.”

This year will mark Gibsons firefighters’ 14th time competing for fastest climb time – no easy feat when you consider firefighters compete hauling more than 50 lbs. of protective firefighting gear and breathing apparatus on their backs.

“For us, participating in Climb the Wall has become both a meaningful tradition and a great team-building exercise. Besides that, it’s a great way to spend a Sunday,” Facchin added.

Joining Gibsons firefighters will also be a team of Sechelt firefighters, led by assistant fire chief Dwight Dawson. This will be their sixth time taking part.

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Sechelt firefighters are geared up to compete in the Feb. 23 Climb the Wall fundraiser. - Submitted Photo

“Consistently one of Climb the Wall’s top fundraisers, Gibsons firefighters have raised almost $17,000 to date in support of the cause,” said Christopher Lam, CEO of the BC Lung Association.

“Sechelt are also great fundraisers. They’ve not been participating quite as long as Gibsons, but have nevertheless contributed almost $8,000 to the cause.”

To make a donation in support of Gibsons or Sechelt firefighters visit www.stairclimb.ca, click donate, and search for the team “Gibsons Fire Department” or “Sechelt Fire Department” or search a specific firefighter by name.  

To participate in the event, non-firefighter climbers pay a $25 registration fee and commit to fundraising a minimum of $125. In return, every climber receives a limited edition 2020 Climb the Wall T-shirt, brunch and front-row seats to some unique Sunday morning fun.  

All event proceeds go towards lung health and air quality research, education, and lung patient support programs across the province. For more information or to register please call toll free 1.800.665.LUNG or email stairclimb@bc.lung.ca.

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