Stepping up for a great cause

Every year, hundreds of firefighters from across the world climb the stairs of Calgary’s tallest building, the Bow Tower, in their full duty gear, in support of firefighters and citizens living with cancer.

This year, they raised more than $440,000, doubling what was raised in 2018. The money will go to Wellspring Calgary, a local non-profit group that offers programs and resources for cancer patients. A portion of the proceeds will also be used for the Firefighters Assistance Charitable Society.

For Calgary Fire Chief Steve Dongworth, this cause is near and dear to the heart of every first responder. Seventeen cancers have been linked to firefighter workplace hazards.

“We all know at least one person who is affected by cancer,” said the Chief, before taking part in the event on May 5, 2019. “I’m ready to climb the 1,204 steps—and I’ll be counting every one — to show my support to those living with cancer.”

As part of the challenge, Chief Dongworth took on all comers in the Challenge the Chief portion of the event. Civilians fundraise for the opportunity to race the Chief up the Tower. Eight participants challenged the Chief this year, raising more than $80,000 for the cause.

Did you know?

  • The event was founded by Kathy Blas, sister of fallen Calgary firefighter Gord Paul.
  • At 3,400 feet above sea level, this climb is the highest elevation firefighter stairclimb in the word.
  • The fastest time in 2019 was 11:31 minutes.
  • There are 1204 steps to the top of the Bow.