Taking the Stairs to Raise Money to Fight Leukemia and Lymphoma

The King County International Airport Aircraft Rescue & Firefighting (ARFF) Unit responds to all fire, police, and EMT calls at the airport.  This unit is truly unique: everyone in the unit is a King County Sheriff’s deputy, a trained firefighter and an EMT.

On MarchMatheson - 2014 Firefighter Stairclimb 9, 2014, two members of the Airport’s ARFF unit, Chief Donald Davis, and Deputy Graydon Matheson, participated in the 23rd Annual Scott Firefighter Stairclimb of Seattle’s Columbia Tower. Participants climb 788 feet of vertical elevation, 69 flights of stairs and 1,311 steps in full firefighting gear as a fundraising effort for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Since 2009, the ARFF unit has raised over $14,000. This year 1,653 firefighters from around the world participated.

Deputy Matheson has made the climb five times. “The camaraderie between the firefighters participating in the climb is a feeling that we have a responsibility to give back to the community,” Deputy Matheson said. “I challenge myself to use my skills to help the Leukemia & Lymphoma cause”.

Matheson said that photos of children and adults fighting leukemia and lymphoma line the walls inside the stairwell all the way up the climb, providing inspiration to him and other participants. “When I feel my strength start to sap, those photos remind me that if they can keep on fighting, so can I.”

(By Leslie Barstow, King County International Airport/Boeing Field, Department of Transportation. Photo: MyEPevents.com)