Local firefighter climbing to find cures for blood cancer
January 13, 2020
Contact: Jason Bostic
FREDERICKTOWN – Joining 2100 firefighters from around the world, local firefighter Jason Bostic will compete in the 29th annual Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Firefighter Stairclimb on March 8, 2020. Bostic is a firefighter with the Johnsville Fire Department in Morrow County and the Fredericktown Community Fire District, and has represented Ohio the last 14-years at the event.
Along with firefighters from 360 fire departments, 26 states, and five countries, he will compete in the timed race up 69 floors to the top of the Columbia Center tower in Seattle, WA. The building at 788 feet of vertical elevation stands as the second tallest building west of the Mississippi and will take firefighters 1354 steps to reach the top. Firefighters will race to the top wearing full combat gear and a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) weighing an average of 60-70 pounds.
“This competition is grueling, it is a mental and physical challenge that will take you beyond what you conceived were your limits, and it puts things in perspective” said Bostic. “At the end of the day after the competition our battle is done, but for those with blood cancers the battle goes on. It pushes me to not give up, to keep fighting, and to keep going for those that can’t fight.”
From start to finish, firefighters in this event are on the air from their SCBA. With the gear they wear and the heat from the stairwell it turns into an intense battle to get to the top. While each is pushing for their time, their personal best, their fundraising goals, the end result for the thousands involved is one goal, to beat blood cancer. Once firefighters get involved in the event, for many it becomes a primary focus per year for them.
“This has been 14-years in the making, and I am excited to compete once again on this level with some of the best firefighters there are for an organization that means so much,” said Firefighter Jason Bostic. “This is a life changing event that brings so much good to those battling blood cancers, the health and fitness aspects of preparing for the event, and such amazing brotherhood.”
Preparing for the event is not something easy to duplicate in rural Central Ohio. With no buildings even close to what the Columbia Center Tower is, it takes a different level of training in order to be physically and mentally ready. In addition to a regimen in the gym, and the firehouse, Bostic utilizes other competitive stair climbs and races in the Midwest to prepare.
“I run the training tower in gear, I run a considerable number of stairs, I do some pretty intense cardio routines that push the body to the limits, and it serves a dual purpose. Readiness for the competition and for being firefighter fit,” said Bostic. “I have numerous other climbs that help me prepare for Seattle, but this one has my heart because of my connection with Leukemia.”
Beyond the competition aspects of the stair climb, for the sixth year, Bostic is an Ambassador for the LLS that works with the International teams and those in the Eastern United States. As an Ambassador, the greater part of the year is spent in promotion, event planning, working with firefighters from around the world, and pulling off the largest firefighter fundraiser of its kind.
“Being an ambassador to the climb keeps me engaged with my brother firefighters to help push all of us forward in finding cures, setting records, and collectively making a difference,” said Bostic. “We are the faces of the LLS to the firefighter world and strive to promote this event and keep it to a premier level, which in turn keeps allowing us to get closer to the goal, cures.”
This is the fourteenth time that he has competed in the event, yearly pushing close to the $2000 mark in fundraising.
“My personal goal this year is $2000 toward an event goal of $3 million dollars. The fundraising is slow and gradual, but it is exciting to hit these goals,” said Bostic. “I can’t payback the efforts of what the L&LS and their research did to save my mom, but I can pay it forward and know it makes a difference.”
Bostic’s motivation for participating in the event was his mother Peggy’s illness of Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia that nearly took her life in 1986. Her long battle with CML continued to slowly kill her until she received a bone marrow transplant in 1990. The unmatched, unrelated bone marrow transplant was the first of its kind at The Ohio State University Medical Center and was before the James Cancer Institute came to fruition. Without fundraisers and funding for research, her life may not have been saved. She has been in remission since 1993 and continues to live a healthy life.
For more information about his climb and to donate you can visit his LLS donation website at http://www.llswa.org/goto/FF4CURES2020