Dallas police team climbs skyscraper for officer's son



Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely


Posted on January 26, 2014 at 10:56 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 27 at 2:58 AM

DALLAS — Inside one of the city’s signature skyscrapers this weekend, 1,300 people did something many would dread on any day of the week.

"If you're used to taking the elevator, and today's the first day you've taken the stairs in a few years... it's a little more than you thought," said Dallas Police Department Deputy Chief Scott Walton.

He and the others climbed 52 stories, 1,040-steps in the stairwell, to the top of the Fountain Place office tower downtown.

"I thought to myself at about floor number eight, 'What am I getting myself into here?" Dallas Police Sgt. Tracy Smith added (with a smile).

The Big D Climb is an annual fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. A team from the Dallas Police department accepted the challenge for a child of one of their own — Senior Cpl. Curtis Steger.

"We wanted him to know that we were supporting him, but more than just with words. We wanted to participate in something that would touch his family's heart," said Chief David Brown.

Steger is a trainer and handler for the DPD canine team. His colleagues approached him with the idea to participate in the tower climb to honor Steger's teenage son.

It was a gesture that cut this tough cop to the core.

"What I see daily that this kid goes through..." Steger said wiping away tears. "If only I had his will."

Spina bifida put Zach Steger in a wheelchair. But few would ever know the athletic teenage boy who plays wheelchair basketball is also facing down Hodgkins lymphoma and chemotherapy treatment.

The Stegers won't know until next week whether Zach beat it.

"He said, 'You know Mom and Dad, this spina bifida, I can beat. I got it! But I don't know how I'm going to get through this.' And we looked at him in our family environment and we hugged him and said we're going to get through this with the help of Christ," Steger added emotionally.

Even while undergoing chemo, Zach Steger still plays basketball... and still goes to school.

His dad raced up 52 stories in 15 minutes this weekend, drawing on his son's strength to accomplish it.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com