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Honoree For Annual Seattle Stair Climb is Son of West Pierce Firefighter

Firefighter Steve Vukich's son, Cole, is the honoree of the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb on March 10. The 30-person contingent representing West Pierce will be climbing especially hard for one of their own.

Every year, firefighters from throughout the Northwest converge on Seattle's Columbia Tower for the annual Scott Firefighter Stairclimb.

This year, the 30-person contingent from West Pierce Fire & Rescue will be climbing the 788-foot building especially with the son of one of their own in mind.

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The honoree of the March 10 event to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is West Pierce firefighter Steve Vukich's son Cole.

Life hasn't been easy for Cole, who was diagnosed with Biphenotypic Acute Leukemia at 2 years old.

In the past three and half years, Cole has had to endure 25 intrathecal lumbar punctures (where chemo is injected into the spinal fluid), 98 IV drip chemo infusions, seven MRI's, four CT's, five bone marrow aspirations, seven blood transfusions, five platelets transfusions, IVIG infusions, Pic line placements, and surgery for port placement.

He takes between one and nine chemo pills daily, which is all to keep the cancer from returning. Cole has been in remission for a year and a half and has seven months of chemotherapy left to go.

"We were told this makes him one of Mary Bridge's longest on treatment pediatric cancer patients they have ever had," the department says. "When Cole is done he will have been on treatments for 3 years and 10 months. And the best part? He has been a trooper through every bit of it."

The West Pierce team is hoping it can get some help from the public via donations, which are tax deductible and can be made to the West Pierce Fire & Rescue team.

(Click here to make a donation)

For questions or donations by check contact Stairclimb captain Pete Kilga atpeter.kilga@westpierce.org or Steve Vukich steve.vukich@westpierce.org.

Here is the department's full press release:

Each year, West Pierce firefighters participate in the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb in Seattle to support the battle of Leukemia.  This year, on March 10th, 30 West Pierce will be climbing a little harder since the recipient of this year’s climb is one of our own.  Firefighter Steve Vukich’s son Cole is the honoree for the event.

Cole was diagnosed at 2 years old with Biphenotypic Acute Leukemia (both AML & ALL).  Cole is currently receiving high-risk ALL treatments. In the past 3 ½ years, Cole has had to endure 25 intrathecal lumbar punctures (where chemo is injected into the spinal fluid), 98 IV drip chemo infusions, 7 MRI's, 4 CT's, 5 Bone Marrow aspirations, 7 Blood transfusions, 5 platelets transfusions, IVIG infusions, Pic line placements, and surgery for port placement. He takes between 1 and 9 chemo pills daily, which is all to keep the cancer from returning. Cole has been in remission for a year and a half and has 7 months of chemotherapy left to go. We were told this makes him one of Mary Bridge's longest on treatment pediatric cancer patients they have ever had. When Cole is done he will have been on treatments for 3 years and 10 months.  And the best part?  He has been a trooper through every bit of it.

At 788 feet of vertical elevation, the Columbia Center in downtown Seattle stands as the second tallest building west of the Mississippi. It takes 69 flights of stairs and 1,311 steps to reach the highly acclaimed observation deck overlooking the city. The firefighters competing in this event wear full protective gear along with their SCBA (self contained breathing apparatus) breathing through their masks the entire climb.  The gear they wear weighs in excess of 50 pounds.  The Scott Firefighter Stairclimb supports the mission of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, raising money through sponsorships, individual and department fundraising, and entry fees. In 2012, the event featured over 1,550 firefighters from 281 different departments from all over the world.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. The LLS is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services. Since the first funding in 1954, LLS has awarded more than $814 million for research specifically targeting leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

The 30 firefighters from West Pierce Fire & Rescue would appreciate any donation that you can make.  Donations are tax deductible and can be made to the West Pierce Fire & Rescue team at:

http://www.llswa.org/site/TR/Events/FirefighterStairclimb?team_id=47700&pg=team&fr_id=1280

For questions or donations by check contact Stairclimb captain Pete Kilga at peter.kilga@westpierce.org or Steve Vukich steve.vukich@westpierce.org.

Thank you for your support of West Pierce Fire & Rescue and Cole’s fight with Leukemia.

Brent Champaco February 01, 2013 at 02:33 AM
Awesome stuff. Go West Pierce, and more importantly, go Cole!
Mindy McKinney Kerbs February 03, 2013 at 01:43 AM
What an amazing little hero. Go, West Pierce! Prayers and hope for Cole!

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