(BFD submitted photo)

Barriere Firefighters carrying 80-100lb packs walk 10K for cancer research

By Jill Hayward

Nine Barriere Firefighters were joined by two Barriere First Responders on Oct. 26 for the 10k Barriere Firefighters Walk for Cancer. The event was organized by the non-profit Barriere Smoke eaters Firefighters Association and was a first of its kind for the community.

In the spirit of supporting those with cancer, the day before the Walk a handful of firefighters shaved their heads in support of the cause.

At 9 a.m. Oct. 26, the firefighters, in full gear, started their Walk For Cancer.

To give readers a better idea of what ‘full gear’ means, the dry weight of a firefighter’s full fire PPE (personal protective equipment) is about 60lbs. If attending a fire, this weight can easily reach 80lbs due to the gear soaking up large amounts of water and sweat. The gear (plus the fire hose), as shown in the attached photo weighed roughly 100lbs. By the end of their 10K walk the firefighters were definitely feeling the weights they were carrying.

A Barriere Smoke eaters representative said at the beginning of the Walk, “In standing with true firefighter fashion, today we have a couple of firefighters unable to carry air tanks due to injury, so a couple of the other firefighters have their backs and are carrying the extra weight for them.”

The weather did not seem to cooperate, providing a mix of rain and snow throughout the morning, but as one spectator observed, “It must be better carrying all that gear on a cold day than on a hot one!”

Local First Responder emergency vehicles with sirens going also joined the firefighters on their Walk as they followed a prearranged 10K route through the community. Area residents listened for the sirens and then came out and showed their support. Firefighters were happy to walk over when called to accept donations as they traveled through the subdivisions.

There were many congratulations at the end of the Walk, but the day didn’t stop there as the Barriere Firefighters Walk for Cancer had also been selling pre-ordered spaghetti or lasagna dinners that had to be prepared and delivered to the door that evening. In total they sold 90 meals, and the meals were all prepared by the firefighters, who had the use of the kitchen at Sam’s Pizza & Rib House for the evening.

To date the Barriere Firefighters Walk for Cancer has raised just over $4800, with all funds raised going toward the BC Cancer Foundation (75%) and the Barriere Firefighters Association (25%).

“We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated to the Barriere Firefighters Walk for Cancer and to everyone that bought dinners to help support this cause,” said the Barriere Smoke eaters representative, “A big shout out to Sam’s Pizza & Rib House for allowing us to use their kitchen, and to Rainer’s Custom Cutting for donating all the meat. Thank you to Barriere First Responders for participating and taking vitals for us. We will definitely be making this an annual event.”

Firefighters said they had “a fun day” on the Walk, even though a few of them “were sure feeling it the next morning!”

Find Barriere Smoke eaters Firefighters Association on Facebook.