A Langley Township firefighter is ready to undertake a gruelling climb up 48 flights of stairs to benefit the B.C. Lung Association – for the second time.
Anna Thompson is captain of a six-person team of firefighters who will be taking part in the 19th annual Climb the Wall event Feb. 23 at the Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver.
Everyone involved will head up 48 storeys, with the firefighters wearing their full 50 pounds of protective gear, including helmet, coat, and oxygen tanks and masks.
It’s a cause Thompson feels strongly about, partly because of her job, and partly because of her past.
Firefighters see a lot of people who are having trouble breathing.
“Certainly it’s something we respond to a lot, shortness of breath calls,” she said.
And firefighters are exposed to toxic environments regularly, and are often impacted by lung disease, noted Thompson.
She also has some personal experience with having trouble breathing, having suffered from pneumonia and bronchitis as a child.
“It’s something that hits close to home for me.”
Some types of lung problems can also be improved by getting lots of cardiovascular exercise, and events like this one encourage participants to get plenty of that.
The fundraiser helps lung patient support programs, research, and advocacy for patients.
One in five British Columbians is affected by a lung or breathing condition.
Thompson has been a full-time firefighter in Langley Township for three years, and she took part in the Climb the Wall event two years ago, when had just been hired.
Last year, she was on shift and unable to make it, but this year she was free. Thompson said she’ll take part every year she’s able to.
Members of the public can donate to the Langley Township firefighters team or one of the members by visiting stairclimb.ca, clicking on donate, and searching for Township of Langley Fire Department or an individual member by name.