A few Okotoks and Diamond Valley firefighters toughed 1370 stairs for a good cause over the weekend.

On June 9, They participated in the 10th annual Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge in support of Wellspring Alberta, a non-profit organization that provides support to people living with cancer.

With cancer being a prominent occupational hazard for firefighters, it's a cause that's close to the heart of everyone who participates in the challenge each year.

That includes Okotoks firefighter Ryan Kaiser, who's been taking part in the stair climb for the 10 years it's existed and says his motivation has remained the same.

"It's just that desire to help somebody. I've always gone with the motto 'Nobody should have to face cancer alone.' If I can spend a few hours climbing a few hundred stairs, I'll do it for as many years as I can."

Kaiser reached his fundraising goal of $500 this year, and the Okotoks team, comprised of seven local firefighters, raised a total of $3,800.

The event brought in over $350,000.

Kaiser was pleased to shave four minutes off of his time from last year, scaling the tower in 26 minutes this time.

Another Okotoks firefighter, Lisa Barton, set a new record of 13:37 for women 18-35.

For the second consecutive year, the challenge was held at Calgary's Brookfield Place.

Though the previous venue, The Bow, had a stellar view with its north-facing stairwell overlooking the city, Kaiser says volunteers did their best to keep climbers' spirits high, hanging motivational posters with messages including "Climb like your mother's used all three of your names."

During the pandemic, local first responders climbed the Clark Avenue stairs in Okotoks.

It was a tough climb, given that it was outdoors and that each descent down the stairs was not counted toward the total, but Kaiser recalls receiving some much-needed support.

"We had motivational posters put up by the students of Percy Pegler School. It really hit home, and we had one class come down one of the years, and they all lined up both sides of it and gave us fist bumps and high-fives as we were going down the stairs."

Kaiser's recent climbs have been inspired by a young Okotokian.

"The last two years I've climbed in honour of a little girl named Mira. She's been going through cancer, she's fighting it. She's just kind of an inspiration for me to push that little bit harder... I've got a little boy that's the same age and I couldn't imagine what the family goes through. But I know Mira's a fighter and I'm going to do what I can to help her and anyone else who's going through cancer."

More information on Wellspring Alberta and the Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge can be seen on the event website.