PORT ANGELES — Firefighters in Clallam County are again preparing for the annual Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Firefighter Stairclimb in Seattle.
On Sunday, firefighters from Clallam Fire District No. 2, wearing full firefighter garb, trained at the stairs at the Conrad Dyar Memorial Fountain in downtown Port Angeles.
The annual fundraiser requires firefighters to climb 1,356 steps over 69 flights of stairs at the Columbia Center in Seattle while wearing full turnout gear, which typically weighs about 60 pounds.
Firefighters collect donations for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society while they practice. Though the team comprised of Fire District No. 2 and Port Angeles Fire Department firefighters aims to practice at least once a month in preparation for the March 8 event, individual firefighters plan to train weekly.
Firefighter Margie Brueckner, team captain for the North Olympic Firefighter Stairclimbers, had a photo of her late father-in-law Richard Brueckner attached to her helmet as she climbed.
He died last year due to leukemia, but Brueckner credits the efforts of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for extending his life several years.
“He was supported a lot by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s research … that kept him alive for an additional 10 years,” Bruckner said.
“That’s from medications they helped to fund the research behind and get passed by the FDA. That’s why I climb every year.”
The annual competition is representative of the struggle that cancer patients endure, according to its website.
“Every step to the top serves as a reminder that there is still much work left to be done in funding and finding cures,” the website says.
To donate or learn more, visit llswa.org.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsula dailynews.com.