Firefighters raise funds for cancer research


Last updated 11/23/2021 at Noon

Next March 13, Sisters firefighters will don their fire turnouts and air masks and start trudging up 69 floors of stairs in the Columbia Center in Seattle, Washington.

They won’t be fighting a fire, but they will be on a mission: 2,000 firefighters from across the United States and around the world ascend the tower each year in the Firefighter Stair Climb to support the mission of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Over the season, participants will raise funds for blood cancer research and patient services.

Team Captain David Ward is leading a contingent of Sisters firefighters including Jeremy Ast; Travis Bootes; Campbell Clarke; Avery Deutz; Travis Krieck; Travis Martin; Tyler Smith; Rachel Ulm; and Tim Craig in training and fundraising for the climb.

“We’ve had a pretty active team for the past sixish, maybe seven years,” Ward told The Nugget.

In fact, Sisters Fire ranks as one of the event’s top fundraising teams, according to the event website.

The effort involved is arduous.

“It does take a physical toll on you,” Ward said.

Climbing in full turnout, on air, with a couple of thousand others in a tight stairwell can be “pretty savage,” Ward allows. “It’s incredibly hot in the stairwell.”

He said it takes him 22 to 27 minutes to make the climb — which is above average.

Participants are generally in charge of their own physical fitness, which they maintain in order to be prepared for the demanding work they do on a daily basis. As for event-specific training — it’s event specific.

“Nothing simulates climbing stairs like actually climbing stairs,” Ward said.

Team members are out doing individual fundraising, and local businesses will be engaged in some low-key fundraising as well. Those in the community who would like to contribute directly may visit

All funds go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for blood cancer research and patient services.

In its 31st year, the Firefighter Stairclimb has raised over $22 million for LLS.


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