BEND, OR -- A team of firefighters from Bend is training for the annual Scott Stairclimb in Seattle (pictured). The event on March 11 is a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. "Firefighters from around the world will be climbing the Columbia Tower: 1,311 steps, 69 floors and as fast as you can go, wearing all your gear," says Bend Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki. He tells KBND News,"We’ve gone 11 years as a team; this year we’re sending six climbers up. We’re going to try and go as fast as we can, and raise as much money." At 788' of vertical elevation, Columbia Center stands as the second tallest building west of the Mississippi, and the tallest in Seattle.
In 2017, the event brought in about $2.5 million for blood-cancer research and patient care. "Last year, we raised over $40,000 just here in Bend, and most of it was through a simple dollar in a boot as people saw us training in different locations." Derlacki says Longboard Louie’s restaurants in Bend will give a portion of Thursday's proceeds to the cause, from both locations. And, firefighters will accept donations in downtown Bend, as part of First Friday, at the corner of Wall and Minnesota. "We’ve got a stair-climber out, crews will be there climbing in all their gear, raising money. And, our inspiration, Brooke, who’s a freshman at Mt. View High School, will be there. She’s fought a very rare and difficult form of Leukemia; fought back to where she played on the varsity soccer team, this year and has always got a smile on her face, and is a true hero to all of us that are going up there."
Brooke will be in Seattle with the team next weekend, "She gets to go up with us and travel up there and hang out with us and all that; she becomes part of the family." Online donations are accepted through the event's website
. Click "search for a team," then "Bend Fire & Rescue."