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TVF&R volunteer firefighters take climbing challenge for Cystic Fibrosis

Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - TVF&R volunteer firefighter Mike Berry grabs equipment to use on a stairclimber as part of a benefit for the Portland Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge.Firefighters don’t typically hang out in full gear without a fire to fight, but that’s exactly what six Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue volunteers did on Sunday. From noon to 3 p.m., they traded off stair-stepping at Firehouse Subs at Cedar Hills Crossing for as long as their oxygen tanks would allow, all to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

All together, the volunteer firefighters raised $650, some coming from cash donations and the rest from 20 percent of Firehouse Subs’ sales during that time. The Beaverton event happened in conjunction with the Vancouver and Camas-Washougal fire departments and Vancouver Firehouse Subs in Washington. Combined, more than $1,000 was raised.

“It was great — it was hot!” said TVF&R Acting Lt. Mike Berry of Volunteer Company 350 based in Tigard. “I think it’s a great cause. Learning more about cystic fibrosis and what a devastating disease it is, it’s just really opened my eyes up and made me realize that not everybody is fortunate enough to be able to get on a StairMaster or climb 40 flights of stairs.”

The money raised through Firehouse Subs is in advance of the sixth annual Portland 'Climb for a Cure' Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge. On Sept. 21, firefighters will don more than 70 pounds of full gear and race up 40 floors of the U.S. Bancorp Tower to compete for the fastest time and raise money for cystic fibrosis research. TVF&R crews hope to raise $5,000 for the event, adding to the $125,000 already raised toward Portland Stairclimb, and pushing toward this year’s $200,000 goal.

Firefighters from around the world are invited to attend, and participants as far away as New Zealand and Hawaii will be heading to the Pacific Northwest to compete and raise money.

Berry said at last year’s event, a young girl with cystic fibrosis held up a sign at the bottom of the stairs, right before firefighters made their way into the tower. “Thank you for giving us hope,” it read.

“You have 300 firefighters — all these big, burly guys and gals — everyone with tears in our eyes,” said Berry. “It makes it all worth it.”Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Anita Bandwa, center, gets some help trying on a firefighter uniform while her sister Maria watches during a fundraising event to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - TVF&R volunteer firefighter Mike Berry uses a stairclimber in full firefighter regalia during a benefit for the Portland Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge at Firehouse Subs in Beaverton.

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