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A taxing endurance battle took place Sunday between the Calgary Fire Department and Calgary Police Department, as each department’s representative’s stamina was pushed to the brink.  Fire Chief Steve Dongworth’s challenge was accepted by Calgary police deputy chief Ray Robitaille as part of the third annual Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge at the Bow building.  The chief said although he was “ecstatic” after winning the battle between red and blue, the entire event is for a great cause and every participant deserves recognition. “To do something like this, have fun, raise money for charity, and be with brothers and sisters from the fire department just makes for a great day,” said Dongworth. With the event being primarily a fundraiser, both Dongworth and Robitaille were required to raise $10,000 each before joining the 500 other firefighters from across North America climbing the 1,204 stairs of Calgary’s tallest building while wearing 45 pounds of firefighting gear. All funds raised go toward  Wellspring Calgary , an organization providing support, resources and programs to cancer patients. So far, $335,000 has been raised, with donations being accepted until May 31. “We have a number of charities throughout the year where we just like to give back to the community,” said Dongworth. “You’ll find firefighters across the nation feel very connected to their community, and this is just another way of showing that.” Mike Carter, president of the International Association of Firefighters, participated in another inaugural event during the Stairclimb Challenge called the President’s Cup. Carter issued a challenge to all other firefighter union presidents to make the climb with him, while raising at least $1,000. Carter said the idea was developed to try to garner more support and have more people involved in the overall event. “For me, to climb these stairs and provide support is something I take a lot of pride in,” said Carter. “It’s challenging, but it’s very rewarding at the same time.”

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