A 1204-stair walk is no mean feat even for someone unburdened by oxygen tanks and other gear, but for three Estevan firefighters who made the climb on Sunday, May 5, doing it in 50 pounds of gear made it all the more difficult. It was worth the effort, however, as they climbed in support of firefighters and others living with cancer. 

Local firefighters Lincoln Empey, Justin Charron, and Mallory Capelle ascended Calgary's BOW Tower in full firefighting equipment, eventually pushing their way to the top after collecting pledges in support of their cause.

"It was an amazing event. It's well put on," Empey said. "It's very important for brotherhood and for mental health awareness that everybody is dealing with as well. It's a great event." 

The Firefighter Stair Climb Challenge happens every year in Calgary. It is a 775-foot vertical climb that begins over 3400 feet above sea level making it the highest such climb for firefighters in the world, according to their media release. In 2018, the event raised over $238,000 for a variety of cancers. 

Empey's time of 18:34 put him in the top half of 568 firefighters who made the climb. Those firefighters came from all over the world, from everywhere from the deep south to Europe.

"There was one gentleman from Denmark," Empey recalled. "And some from Australia. Some from Texas, all around the world." 

Empey himself raised $500 solely in pledges. "I'm planning to do it next year again," he said, "and I'd like to raise more." He added that he was hoping to get more firefighters from Estevan involved in 2020. 

The province of Alberta recognizes 17 different cancers as occupational hazards in firefighting.