Canby Fire Chief dedicates stairclimb to local girl who died from leukemia
For the last 27 years, save for the one year his son got married, Canby Fire Chief Jim Davis has participated in the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. On March 11, Davis will take on his 26th climb, this time in honor of Jessie Cross, the Lee Elementary student who lost her battle with leukemia in September.
"I am doing the Seattle Firefighter stair climb for leukemia, which I have done for 27 years, and would like to remember [Jessie] Cross by doing the climb in her memory," Davis said.
Cross's mom, Crystal Kuite, is thrilled that Davis is choosing to dedicate his climb to her daughter's memory.
"It means so much to me," Kuite said, "because it's in honor of my daughter…to remind everyone how strong she was, because people tend to forget, and this is a way to keep her memory alive."
The climb takes place at the Columbia Center in Seattle, Washington, the tallest building west of the Mississippi in terms of number of floors. It involves 69 floors, 1,356 steps and a 788-foot vertical elevation. Firefighters from all over the world tackle the steps wearing full gear and oxygen tanks, about 74 pounds of weight total.
Davis will take on the 69 floors not just once, but twice on the same day.
"I tell people if I do it twice, will you double your donation?" Davis said. "So, that helps with my donations that I give to [LLS]."
In previous years, Davis has raised $2,000 to $3,000 for the cause.
This year, 12 firefighters from Canby will participate, each with a goal of raising at least $1,000 for LLS.
"To have 12 Canby firefighters doing it this year is incredible…to have that many firefighters doing it speaks really highly to the Canby Fire Department," Davis said.
Canby firefighters have been climbing Portland's U.S. Bancorp Tower two or three times a week in training for the day, and many of them have set personal goals. First-time climber Connor Briggs is hoping to beat Andrew Aamodt's time of 16:24, Aamodt is hoping to come in under 16 minutes, and Paul Phillips hopes to get under 20 minutes. This is all in hope that the community will support their efforts.
Every dollar that is raised through the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb benefits LLS's mission, which is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families, according to promotional materials for the climb.
The guys are willing to go and bus tables for tips or a percentage of proceeds at a restaurant in town. They are open to corporate sponsorship, since they have room on their t-shirts for business names. And they are also open to other fundraising ideas.
To donate in Cross's memory, visit llswa.org. The web page provides a link to the "Canby Fire Department" fundraising page as well.