Three local first responders were huffing and puffing for a good cause this week.

Ryan Kaiser from the Okotoks Fire Department, Cpt. Ian McLeod with Canadian Natural Emergency Services, and Cst. Bethany Simpson with Okotoks RCMP climbed the Clark Avenue stairs for the 8th Annual Calgary Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge.

They climbed the stairs repeatedly, descending 1204 steps or 774 feet, the equivalent of Calgary's Bow building, where the event was originally held.

Though they had to descend each time, the steps down did not count toward the total.

first responders climb 2022(Left to Right) Ryan Kaiser, Bethany Simpson, and Ian McLeod catch their breath after finishing the climb.

This was the second year this particular set of stairs was used by Okotoks participants, and Kaiser's seventh time participating in the challenge (having missed one year due to an injury.)

The event serves as a fundraiser for Wellspring Calgary.

Kaiser says it's a cause that's near and dear to all first responders.

"[Wellspring Calgary] helps families and individuals that are going through cancer treatments. It helps with finances, it helps with hospitalisations, it helps with treatments. Emergency services in general, but particularly fire, we're at a higher risk of getting cancer, so if we can help raise funds to help people going through it, I'll do it. An hour of pain is well worth it for helping somebody going through that treatment."

Firefighters and fire departments take part to raise money as a team or individually, with virtual climbs and in-person climbs happening until June 5.

The Okotoks Emergency Services fundraiser page can be seen here.