Fire Chief and Police Chief go toe to toe for Stairclimb Challenge in support of cancer

May 4, 2021
  • May 4, 2021
  • Events, News

CALGARY –Wellspring Calgary’s 7th annual Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge kicked off its virtual event this year, which runs May 2 – 15, with a climb between two chiefs: Calgary Chief of Police, Mark Neufeld and Calgary Fire Department Chief, Steve Dongworth.

On Sunday, May 2, Chief Neufeld donned the full 50 pounds of firefighter gear and went toe to toe with Chief Dongworth. After climbing 1,204 steps outside at Calgary Edgemont stairs, Chief Dongworth emerged as the winner, by 10 seconds, in this friendly competition for bragging rights.

“The Firefighter’s Stairclimb is an extremely worthwhile event,” says Chief Dongworth. “I have participated every year since its inception for a number of reasons. Firstly, in support of all Calgarians who are fighting cancer on a daily basis. Secondly, in memory of those who I know personally, who have fought, and in some cases fought and lost, their battle with cancer. And finally, because of the sense of camaraderie in joining others in raising both funds and awareness for those battling cancer today and in the future.”

Chief Neufeld adds, “It’s always a pleasure to participate in the annual Challenge the Chief Firefighter Stairclimb event to support those living with cancer. Wellspring is a very deserving organization and the work they do within the community is made possible through fundraising efforts and by bringing Calgarians together for events like these. We enjoy partnering with the Calgary Fire Department, not just for this event, but as fellow first responders who work together on a daily basis, it’s also important to support each other off-duty for causes that positively impact our community.”

From May 2 – 15, 2021, hundreds of firefighters and members of the public are participating in the virtual Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge, in support of Wellspring Calgary. In most years, this is a live event at Calgary’s The Bow, but this year will be a virtual event – with new ways to involve and engage participants. What remains the same is that individuals will still have to climb the same number of stairs as The Bow tower, 1,204 steps (774 vertical feet), and firefighters must climb in full duty gear.

Inspired by Seattle’s Scott Firefighter Stairclimb, and founded by Kathy Blas, sister of fallen Calgary firefighter, Gord Paul, this event is fully endorsed and supported by the Calgary Fire Department and the International Association of Firefighters Local 255.



“Cancer isn’t cancelled. No one knows this better than those who continue to endure treatment and side effects, even as this pandemic sweeps our world. As a cancer support organization that serves southern Alberta and beyond, we are doing all we can to deliver on our promise to support and serve those whose lives are turned upside-down by cancer,” said Wellspring Calgary Acting CEO, Sheena Clifford.

Cancer is a prevalent occupational hazard of the firefighter’s job. Proceeds from this event ensure Wellspring Calgary can provide supportive care to firefighters and citizens living with cancer.

“Last year alone, Wellspring Calgary served over 2,000 individuals living with cancer – including cancer patients, caregivers and family members – and with no core government or agency funding, we rely primarily on generous donors and events such as this one, to keep us viable,” said Clifford.

If you’re interested in taking part in this event, there’s still time. Visit to learn more.

2 Responses

  1. Congrats on the virtual stairclimb challenge, especially the chief vs chief challenge. I now see Chief Neufeld making up by coming to a station to wash one of the ladder units, and if he doesn’t pass muster, he gives Dongworth 20 push-ups (firefighter ones!!) in full gear!! üòÜ

  2. Just watched the stairclimb that was done on May 2nd. Whew – I’m beat. Iwould need their help getting up.

    As for Angela (King)’s comment re: wearing the gear – CFD had a recruitment drive a few years ago, displaying the gear. I tried it on and I get what she meant about it being hot. I also tried on the face shield – that was disorienting, especially as the shield tapers at the nose to fit the regulator that is part of their gear. I wear correction for vision and wonder if the shields are ground to match the wearer’s prescription, or if the person wearing it doesn’t need visual correction.

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