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Firefighters Make Climb for a Cure

Imagine climbing 34 flights of stairs with 45 pounds of gear weighing you down. This is exactly what Westport firefighters Ben Racho, Lt. Brett Kirby, Earl Hill and Dan Ambruso did Nov. 6 for the Fight for Air Climb: Tackle Trump Parc in Stamford.

Dressed head to toe in their firefighter gear, including air tanks on their backs and masks on their faces, these four firefighters climbed 590 steps, all to benefit the American Lung Association .[breakhere]

"I believe we raised right around $2,000 for this event," said team captain Ambruso, who completed the climb in six minutes and 46 seconds.

Each registered climber was required to meet a $100 fundraising minimum. With a total of $2,000 among them, that means each team member went above and beyond the call.

In doing so, each reached out to friends, family and colleagues but went about it differently.

"I use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter for my fundraising," said Racho, who completed the climb in seven minutes and 50 seconds. "I can contact more people from all over to donate."

Like Racho, Ambruso used Facebook as a fundraising tool. Hill, a first-time participant who completed the climb in nine minutes and 32 seconds, said he reached out to people via email.

At the event, they raced other firefighters.

"The climb itself was what I expected: It was a long, tough climb up the stairs, but we received a lot of support from others during the actual climb," said Kirby, a first-timer who completed the climb in seven minutes and 59 seconds.

If the event is held again next year, all four men said they hope to participate.

"I can't wait to do it again," said Hill.

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