BJ Lang is thrilled to give back to his community and honour his friends and fellow firefighters who have lost their lives to cancer. “The Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge is my absolute favorite event, but it’s also a bit emotional for me. We’ve had a rough go lately, lost three of our guys to cancer. That’s a lot for our small fire department here in Medicine Hat,” says Lang.
BJ carries the proud legacy of being a third-generation firefighter. His late Grandfather served the community of Scarborough, Ontario, with unwavering dedication for over 30 years, while his retired father devoted 35 years to the Sault Ste Marie Fire Department, also in Ontario. BJ and his younger brother decided to carry on the family tradition of service and bravery by becoming firefighters themselves.
This year, three of the Lang men are suiting up in gear that could be called their family coat of armor, tackling the 1,370 steps of Calgary’s tallest tower.
“My dad and brother are coming out from Ontario to do the climb with me. It’s their first time—I’m so excited for them to experience the camaraderie! It’s such a fantastic event—I’ve never seen anything like it. The volunteers are amazing, and the energy in the building is incredible; people cheering you on, and other firefighters you’ve never even met giving you a fist pump in the stairwell. We are all one big family,” he says.
BJ is also pumped about the weeks leading up to the event. He will fly to Ontario for a visit with his family and drive back to Alberta with his dad and brother. “This is really special—the three of us spending 20 hours alone together. We don’t get to see each other much since I moved to Alberta,” he says.
On the day of the event, a spirited crowd of Langs will be present, rallying to cheer on not only this triumphant trio but also every participant in the Stairclimb. “My whole family, including my wife and two kids, and my mother will be there. I think it’s cool for my kids to be a part of this, seeing people do something difficult to give back,” he says.
Despite not personally seeking support from Wellspring, BJ acknowledges the positive impact that the organization has had on other firefighters. He shares, “I make a point of participating in this event every year I can. It’s a simple and important way to give to an organization that makes lives a bit better.” BJ and his fellow firefighters from the Medicine Hat Fire Department will wear armbands and helmet stickers with the initials of their colleagues who have passed away from cancer on the day of the climb, as a tribute to their memory and legacy.
“We’ll be remembering Gary Folk, Rick Bokstyn, Curtis Noble, and Cam Potts. Cam was a good friend who passed away before he could join us in a stair climb; he wanted to do it for the same reasons I do. Curtis Noble was an incredible advocate for IAFF members and was lobbying governments for more presumptive cancer coverage. These are the guys I do this for. Every year I try to bring something from someone close to me to the top of the tower,” he says.
This year, BJ is thrilled to be bringing his dad and brother.
Donate to Team Lang’s climb here.