Six Nelson firefighters took part in the High Rise Challenge for muscular dystrophy on Nov. 5 in IODE Park in Nelson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Six Nelson firefighters took part in the High Rise Challenge for muscular dystrophy on Nov. 5 in IODE Park in Nelson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson firefighters climb 1,198 stairs for muscular dystrophy

Climbers were loaded with more than 50 pounds of equipment

Six Nelson firefighters climbed the IODE Park stairs 10 times on Nov. 5, each loaded with more than 50 pounds of equipment, to raise funds for muscular dystrophy research.

This was the 24th annual national High Rise Challenge, originated by firefighters in Montreal who climb an 1,188-step tower, collecting pledges and donations.

The IODE park staircase has 198 steps. So, up and back 10 times.

The event has changed since the beginning of the pandemic.

“The typical challenge would happen at a set location,” says Nelson firefighter Lucas Fortier, “and fire halls would be competing against each other for times. But with COVID, they are allowing us to do it at your own location and your own challenge, as long as it is in the parameters.”

As of Nov. 8, the Nelson firefighters have raised $1,455, exceeding their $1,200 goal. Donations may still be made at https://bit.ly/3GSZeOV until Nov. 15.

Muscular dystrophy is a neuromuscular disorder that causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. The most common types of muscular dystrophy begin in childhood, mostly among boys.

There is no cure for the disease. Donations fund research, medications and therapy that can help manage symptoms.

Retired Nelson fireman Bob Patton, who participated in the event, says carrying their equipment up the stairs is heavy but that’s what firemen do.

“It makes you work a little harder. We’re using our muscles to help those that can’t use theirs.”