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Montana firefighters climb high to help fight blood cancer

Posted at 11:43 AM, Mar 29, 2024

More than 100 firefighters from across Montana took part in the annual LLS Firefighter Stairclimb in Seattle earlier this month.

Every year, firefighters from across the country gather in Seattle for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Firefighter Stairclimb.

This year, 25 teams – 101 climbers – from Montana participated and raised more than $120,000.

East Helena Volunteer Fire Department firefighters Troy Maness and Brandon McClain alone raised $8,000.

“It's just a minute, small amount of what I can give for these folks that are going through this stuff,” explained Maness, the Montana LLS Firefighter Stairclimb Ambassador.

The two men were climbing for Nikki MacMillan, a 2024 honoree for the entire event.

Maness heard about Macmillan when his sister mentioned she was a former student at Capital High School diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

A recent graduate of Flathead Community College’s small business management program, she’s undergone chemotherapy treatment as well as a bone marrow transplant.

On March 10, Maness and McClain climbed 69 flights of stairs, or 1,356 steps, and met Macmillan at the top.


For the past nine months, MacMillan has been in full remission.

Maness says that if you want to get involved you don’t need to be a firefighter. You can donate to LLS any time of the year or sign up to be a match for the national bone marrow donor program.

“You don’t have to wait for the firefighter stairclimb guys to get out there and do a fill the boot or anything. You can go to their website, make a donation there. If you're interested in trying to be a match, you can go,” says Maness.