On Sunday, firefighters from across the province will converge in Calgary, to climb 57 stories, totalling 1,370 steps at Brookfield Place for the 10th annual Firefighter Stairclimb. Rickey-Lee DeVries, with the Airdrie Fire Department, will be one of those participating.

She has participated in four previous stair climb challenges, making this year, her fifth challenge. 

"It's a really fun event [and] I enjoy the physical aspect of it. I also enjoy meeting other firefighters and seeing firefighters from other departments at the events," she said. "It's great for a great cause."

The event was initially inspired by Kathy Blas, the sibling of a fallen firefighter Gord Paul. 

"The event supports firefighters and citizens in our community who are fighting cancer, with proceeds going towards Wellspring Alberta. This event spotlights firefighters and underscores the risks they take every day when they go to work. It also reflects how Wellspring Alberta’s mission relates to the important work they do," The Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge website stated.

Looking back on last year's challenge DeVries said that the last 10 to 15 floors are indeed difficult, but she is hopeful to beat her own time record from last year. 

"[My time last year] was 17 minutes and 50 seconds," she said.

DeVries has been training for a few months now, incorporating weighted vests into her fitness routine.

"I usually just start with a lower weight and then as I continue training, I'll gradually increase more weight and higher intensities with the stair climb," she said. "I like training with a heavier vest than what we'll wear the day of. I find that mentally, it just feels better when you know it's going to be lighter than what you're training with."

DeVries along with other firefighters will don their SCBA, or self-contained breathing apparatus, as part of the challenge, which weighs approximately 29 pounds. And for those who are both bold and brave, there is the Challenge the Chief Challenge, which allows anyone who registers to go toe-to-toe with Calgary Fire Chief Steve Dongworth.

"Participants must raise a minimum of $5,000 before showing up to race the Chief up 1,370 steps to the top of Calgary’s tallest tower: Brookfield Place."

Thus far several challengers are in line, including several members of the Calgary Police Service; Calgary Police Chief Mark Neufeld, along with Constable Ashley Majewski, Jefferey Bell, Dr. Patrick Baillie, and Travis Juska, are challenging Fire Chief Dongworth. Other Challengers include Dan Hague, Nisha Valckx, as well as Rebecca Perkins, the Outreach Manager for Wellspring Alberta.

"Challenge the Chief will kick off the main Firefighter Stairclimb on June 9, with a victor declared at the end."

Proceeds from the Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge will ensure Wellspring Alberta can provide programs and services to firefighters and all citizens living with cancer.

"Wellspring Alberta also proudly gifts a portion of event proceeds to support the Firefighters Assistance Charitable Society (FACS)."

DeVries concluded that despite the physicality of the challenge, it is rewarding.

"Wellspring is contributing to people who have cancer, either civilians or firefighters. It just means a lot because you always have people in your life who are struggling with cancer, whether it's friends and family or people that you know, through work," DeVries said. "It just feels good to support them and do the best that you can to help."

Other local fire departments including members from Crossfield and Rocky View County will also attend the challenge. 

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