The Big Climb
More than 1,500 firefighters from nearly 300 departments from all over the world will climb the 1,311 steps of the Columbia Tower (while wearing 50 pounds of gear) to raise a goal of $1.2 million for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, whose mission is to cure cancers of the blood and to support the families contending with those diseases. The record was set in 2012 by Montana firefighter Andrew Drobeck, who took the steps, from bottom to top, in 10 minutes, 38.2 seconds. He’ll be back this year to defend his record. This year’s honoree is 6-year-old Cole Vukich, the son of West Pierce Fire & Rescue firefighter Steve Vukich and his wife, Brooke, who at age 2 was diagnosed with biphenotypic acute leukemia.