1,000 take part in 'Big D Climb' to raise money for cancer research

More than 1,000 people raced to the top of a Dallas skyscraper Saturday morning to raise money and awareness for two fast growing cancers.

Fox 4 was a proud sponsor of the Big D Climb.

With every step, the participants honored those who had been impacted by blood cancers.

"He was 11 years old when he was diagnosed, and on Mother's Day he passed away," Maria Diaz said.

Ricky Diaz passed away on Mother's Day 2007, and since then, family and friends have taken part in the Big D Climb to send him a message.

"That I love him and I just wish I could see him again," Diaz said.

1,000 people took on the challenge Saturday of climbing up the tallest building in downtown Dallas - the Bank of America Plaza, which is 70 flights of stairs.

This was all to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with their goal of raising hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"Every three minutes, someone new is diagnosed. Every nine minutes, somebody loses their battle," said  Stacey Russell. "Currently, there is over 1 million people, 1 million Americans in the United States that are battling blood cancers that have been affected by these diseases. So our goal is to try to find new treatments [and] fund new research, so we can ultimately lead to cures."

Cures for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, and myeloma.

The awareness for these cancers is growing because of events like this.

"I have a friend that actually has survived leukemia, so it's exciting to be here to support her and just the energy of people stair-climbing. I do other runs and bike rides and this is just a fun alternative for fundraising and exercising at the same time," said Tara Dannehl.

Dallas Fire Rescue was there. They are considered elite climbers.

Not only do they climb up 70 stories, they do it in full firefighting gear -- helmet, jacket, pants, gloves - weighing about 60 pounds.

It might be hard, but they say it is worth it.

"We like the challenge," said Dallas Fire Captain Christian Hinojosa. "It's the tallest building in Dallas. Personally, I do it because I have a son with leukemia, so my 5-year-old Max is a beneficiary of all of the work that LLS does, and so we really appreciate that."

Saturday's event raised $208,000.

If you couldn't make it out, you can still help. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society will be taking donations through January 31.