Firefighters take steps towards finding cancer cure

On each of their helmets are photos of people who've been diagnosed with the disease. Team Captain Rob Yencopal said those photos push them to keep climbing.

Posted: Feb 20, 2018 7:38 PM
Updated: Feb 20, 2018 8:14 PM

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Firefighters in Corvallis are taking steps towards finding a cure for blood cancers.

They have a team competing in the 27th Annual Scott Firefighter Stairclimb next month and all the money raised will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

They team of about 20 firefighters practice for the climb at Reser Stadium at least once a week. They wear their Turnouts; it's the gear they were when responding to fires. 

On each of their helmets are photos of people who've been diagnosed with the disease. Rob Yencopal is the Team Captain and he said those photos push them to keep climbing.

"When you see the negative impacts that cancer has on families, it becomes personal and you can't let that go," said Yencopal.

Their honorary Captains this year is a local boy named Cade Hunt. He was diagnosed with leukemia recently and is fighting strong. He'll join the team in Seatle next month for the stairclimb. 

That's where the team will be climbing 69 flights of stairs and competing against 2,000 firefighters from around the world.

"We'll be out here climbing for anywhere from 25, 35, sometimes 45 minutes," said Yencopal. He said in that time, nine to 12 people are going to be diagnosed with blood cancers, and about three people are going to lose their fight.

"There's a lot of people with leukemia. It's a disease that needs to go away, just like all cancers," said Andy Louden, a team member. 

Local businesses have been helping them.

"My dad was the honary captain two years ago, so I wanted to honor him this year by holding a dinner," said Danielle Lewis, the Chef at Castor Club. She lost her father to leukemia two years ago.

"The money we raise will help them to know what to do with that type of leukemia," said Lewis. 

The stairclimb takes place March 11th and the Corvallis team is holding additiona fundraisers this month. 

Papa's Pizza will be hosting a fundraiser on Feb. 21st; they said to make sure to bring in the Corvallis Stairclimb Team flyer (click here).  Another one will be held at the Red Robin in Abany on Feb. 24th. On Feb. 27th, there will be a fundraiser at University Hero, (you also need a flyer for that event). 

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