Firefighters climb for cystic fibrosis cure

October 2022 Posted in Community, People

A group of nine Silverton firefighters participated in the annual Portland Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge on Sunday, Sept. 25, at the US Bancorp Tower.

Silverton had the largest participation among all competing agencies, said Joe Boyd, executive director of the event.

The climb began in 2009 but did not take place in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has raised more than $1.5 million to fight cystic fibrosis, a rare genetic disorder that affects mostly the lungs, but also the pancreas, liver, kidneys, and intestines. Long-term issues include difficulty breathing and coughing up mucus as a result of frequent lung infections.

The event, which included 125 participants, raised $40,000. It is a supreme challenge of firefighter fitness levels. 

Participants are required to go from the basement of the Tower to the top of the building, a distance of 40 floors and 800 steps, in full gear, with an oxygen mask and bottle.

Non-firefighters also can participate and raise money for the cause, with some taking to the stairs in weighted vests to see how their times stack up against those of the firefighters.

The top finisher was Jasper Stenstrom, 29, of Graham, Washington, who scaled the tower in 6:42.1. Christie Choma of Gresham finished 14th overall in 10:39.2 and was the top female finisher.

Top Silverton finishers included Jamie Ruks (35th, 15:02.9), Claire Varney (37th, 15:33.2), Spencer Beachy (38th, 15:57.0), Phil Sowa (40th, 16:38.0) and Deasal Conner (51st, 23:07.7). Conner finished first among women 60 and over, Sowa was second among men 60 and over and Varney was third in the female no-age-given category.

Silverton firefighters have participated in the challenge since its first year, Boyd said.

– James Day

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.