It’s 80 flights – more than 2,000 steps – to the top of 3 World Trade Center in New York City. The New York City Memorial Stair Climb requires participants to climb the stairs only once, but Pierce County, WA Local 726 member Jasper Stenstrom did it twice to benefit The Ray Pfeifer Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to assisting 9/11 first responders with medical needs not covered by health insurance.
Founded by Fire Department of New York (FDNY) fire fighters, the stair climb honors the first responders who died at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, by limiting the participants to 343 fire fighters and 60 law enforcement personnel. Each year, the climb’s organizers choose a different charity for which climbers are encouraged, but not required, to raise money.
This year was Stenstrom’s third time in the event. “When you’re doing it, it’s hard, so you must stay focused on why you are doing it,” he says. “Not only was I thinking about the 343 fire fighters lost that day, but I was also thinking about the great charity this climb is benefiting. I was proud to have raised $3,500.”
Stenstrom climbed the 80 flights the first time in 18 minutes and five seconds, putting him in the top 10. He climbed the second time in 23 minutes, finishing in the top 25.
Over the past six years, Stenstrom has raised more than $70,000 for various charities while participating in stair climb events in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
And he has no plans to stop. “There is nothing easy about doing these stair climbs,” says Stenstrom. “I’m doing this to help worthy charities like The Ray Pfeifer Foundation and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It is about making an impact on something bigger than myself.”