Cheney Free Press -

Airway Heights firefighters make the climb to raise cancer funds


March 22, 2018


Staff Intern

Eight firefighters in Airway Heights made the climb, literally, to raise funds for the leukemia and lymphoma society.

On March 11, the crew climbed the 69 flights of stairs at the Columbia Tower in Seattle, equaling 1,356 steps, in firefighting gear at the 27th Annual Scott Firefighter Stairclimb. It is the world’s largest on-air stair climb competition.

“This was my fifth time participating,” Deputy Chief-Training Alex Turner said. “It is a really cool experience. Around 2,000 firefighters show up to do it.”

Anja Dean, who is a volunteer at the station, was a part of it for the first time.

“I lost my niece to cancer, so it was a very cool but emotional experience,” Dean said.

Dean also explained that participants could submit pictures of the people they were doing it for and the pictures were hung up throughout the flights of stairs. When she was climbing, she was looking around for her niece’s picture and it was emotional when she finally found it.

The people that participated with Turner and Dean were team captain Megan Morgan, Britt LaChance, Luke Klohe, John Tillman, Kayla Franck and Nikki Schmidt.

With eight people from Airway Heights participating, the team has raised just over $6,000 towards the whole event’s goal of $2.65 million. The current fundraising total is around $2.2 million.

“People come from all over the world,” Turner said. “There were people from New Zealand, France and Chile. It really is an incredible event.”

All the funds raised go to the leukemia and lymphoma society. The money is spent for things like lab equipment and research.

“Thirty minutes walking stairs isn’t necessarily fun,” Tuner said. “But you’re there for a good cause and you get 2,000 firefighters there with a common goal.”

Airway Heights wasn’t the only West Plains station to participate as District 3 had two volunteers and District 10 had 10 people.

“The numbers for Airway Heights have already gone up,” Turner said. “We already have interest for next year.”

Donations for the cause end on March 31 and can be made online at People can also search for the Airway Heights department while donating so that the fire station gets credit for the money raised.

Grace Pohl can be reached at


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