It may not have been an emergent situation, but the race to the top of Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel for local volunteer fire fighters will help change lives.
Hope firefighters Peter Faulkner, Rebecca Arrowsmith, Branden Stewart, Monica Cummins, Joshua Westcott and Thomas Cameron took part in the BC Lung Association’s Climb the Wall event, which took place on Feb. 24.
The event challenges people to stair climbing all 48 storeys to the top of the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel in support of lung health and clean air. This year, more than 350 participants, including 141 firefighters from 15 different departments took part in the 18th annual event, competing for best climb time in full turnout gear – all 75-plus pounds worth.
“The BC Lung Association’s Climb the Wall is a rare event in that it brings firefighters together from across the province to support a worthwhile cause,” said Hope fire chief, Tom DeSorcy, who is also a volunteer director with the BC Lung Association.
“It’s also a great team-building exercise. And in fact, for us, it’s a year-round endeavor. Our members spend extra time each week training for it. Even those amongst the crew that don’t participate in the event itself take part in the extra training over and above our regular schedule to keep fit to serve the community.
“I’m very proud of our crew. They never hesitate to go the extra mile,” continued Fire Chief DeSorcy.
“Consistently amongst our top fundraisers, Hope firefighters raised more than $4,500 this year alone,” said Chris Lam, CEO of the BC Lung Association. “We’re extraordinarily grateful for their continuing support and dedication to the cause.”
“One in five British Columbians struggle with chronic lung disease – including asthma, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis and lung cancer. For many affected by lung disease climbing just one flight of stairs is difficult – no one understands this better than firefighters who in the line of duty are called upon to navigate their way up stairs and through smoky buildings at a moment’s notice,” Lam said.
This year the event the even raised more than $82,000 adding to the $1.6 million raised since the fundraiser was first established. Climbers ranged in age from five to 80 years old. Some climbed solo, others as part of a family or team. All took part united in an effort to improve the lives of British Columbians affected by lung disease.