SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. – A team within the Spokane Valley Fire Department is preparing to climb the 73 floors of the Columbia Center in Seattle for a cure to blood cancer. They are fundraising and training simultaneously on a stair machine in grocery stores.

Climbers race up Seattle’s tallest building in full gear to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Last year the team raised $15,000 and are hoping for even more this year. Sunday’s fundraiser was one of many. They raised $618 at the Spokane Valley Albertsons.

Not only does training in grocery stores raise money, it prepares the firefighters for the 69 flights of stairs and 1,356 steps to reach the top. “Last year the fastest guy from Spokane Valley took 19th place out of 2,000 firefighters from around the country,” said firefighter Scott Neibuhr.

This climb hits close to home for firefighters, “Leukemia is also a very common cancer for fighters to contract. We have about a 68% chance of contracting cancer,” Neibuhr shared.

Although the competition is not until March, this crew makes it a priority to fight for people’s lives. In fires, of course, but also in the crusade against cancer.