WEST RICHLAND, Wash. — Thousands of firefighters are getting ready to suit up and climb all 69 floors of Seattle's Columbia Center Tower next month for the 27th Annual Scott Firefighter Stairclimb.
But they have to earn $300 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society first.
Firefighters from Benton County Fire Districts 2 and 4 suited up and spent Sunday raising the funds one step at a time.
Benton County District 4 Firefighter Sam Monds claimed he was 'feeling good' from the stair-stepper he and his crew parked in front of Yoke's Fresh Market on Bombing Range Road.
"We've been doing 20 minute intervals and this is my third round so I'm a little tired. But the training is great for when we get to Seattle," he said.
Monds is one of more than 40 firefighters from the Tri-Cities area planning to attend.
Another is Capt. Bill Reed from Benton County Fire District 2 who said this will be his fifth year at the fund-raiser.
"The camaraderie is there, we all know why we're doing it. We all have our special story of why we're doing it," he said.
Reed has a few special stories. He's from Benton City, a place where he said everybody knows everybody and where as firefighters, his crew meets a number of children struggling through cancer treatments.
"I just keep going, because the benefit we see is well worth it," he said.
The captain said at least 70 percent of the money raised at the Seattle fund-raiser goes toward helping Leukemia and Lymphoma patients and their families.
He said he's met some of the families and seen how the money helps pay for treatment and research.
Which is why he said he'll climb all 1,356 steps again this year, "It's just so motivating to know that from 20 years ago to now, the number of cancer deaths is shrinking."
But, he said, they still have a long way to go.
"What keeps me going," he said. "Is the simple fact that I know the pain I'm going through is going to end when I hit that top floor."
A light at the end of the tunnel, like the cure he said he'd like found for all cancer patients.
Capt. Reed said they'll have the stair-stepper at Corwin Ford in the Pasco Autoplex next week and invites you to come drop some money in the boot.
He said you can also donate online.
When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10.
Where: Corwin Ford Tri-Cities, 1225 No. Autoplex Way, Pasco , Wash.