Why We Climb

Cancer is the #1 cause of line-of-duty firefighter deaths.[1]

We all know firefighting is a dangerous occupation, but did you know there are 16 presumptive cancers[2] recognized as occupational hazards related to firefighting?

This event spotlights firefighters and underscores the risks they take every day when they go to work. It also reflects how Wellspring’s mission relates to the important work they do. Proceeds from the Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge ensure Wellspring Calgary can provide programs and services to firefighters and all citizens living with cancer. Wellspring Calgary also proudly gifts a portion of event proceeds to support the Firefighters Assistance Charitable Society (FACS), whose mission is to empower and strengthen firefighters by enhancing the success and resilience of the firefighter community.

Increased Risk

Firefighters are more likely to be diagnosed with certain types of cancer than the general public.[3]

Exposure

Chronic exposure to heat, toxic smoke and the byproducts of fire puts firefighters at high risk for developing cancer.[4]

Toxic Materials

Households commonly contain materials that produce toxic smoke, such as plastic and synthetic materials.[4]

Wellspring Calgary

Wellspring Calgary is a registered charity offering free programs and services that meet the emotional, social and practical needs of people living with cancer – those diagnosed, caregivers and kids.

In Calgary and across southern Alberta, only Wellspring Calgary devotes itself exclusively to the unique non-medical needs cancer presents. Wellspring provides a caring community in-person and online, so any adult living with cancer, their caregiver and family members can access vital information, meaningful support and effective coping strategies.

Why We Climb Stories

There are many reasons our participants choose to climb – for a personal challenge, as a team building opportunity, or because someone important in their life was diagnosed with cancer. Here are some inspiring stories about why these participants are climbing.

[1] Thomas, L., Garis, L. & Biantoro, C. 2020, July. Canadian firefighter fatility and injury: Trend analysis of association of Workers Compensation Boards of Canada fatality and Injury claims 2006-2018. Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of the Fraser Valley. https://cjr.ufv.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Canadian-Firefighter-Injury-and-Fatality-Claims-Analysis.pdf

[2] Workers Compensation Board of Alberta (September 24, 2018). Worker Fact Sheet – Firefighters with Cancer. https://www.wcb.ab.ca/assets/pdfs/workers/WFS_Firefighters_with_cancer.pdf

[3] Daniels, Robert D, Kubale, Travis L, Yiin, James H, Dahm, Matthew M, Hales, Thomas R, Baris, Dalsu, Zahm, Shelia H, Beaumont, James J, Waters, Kathleen M, & Pinkerton, Lynne E. (2014). Mortality and cancer incidence in a pooled cohort of US firefighters from San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia (1950–2009). Occupational and Environmental Medicine (London, England), 71(6), 388–397. https://doi.org/10.1136/oemed-2013-101662

[4] Carcinogenic Exposures. https://www.iaff.org/wp-content/uploads/FFCancer_CarcinogenicExposures.pdf