Woman who lost husband to cancer runs up 90 floors every day

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PHILADELPHIA — When Sally Kalksma, 55, lost her husband to cancer, she fought back by finding a new passion: competing as a competitive stair-climber. 

“As more adversity hit my life, I would take it out on the stairs,” Kalksma told Fox 29. “I would just climb harder and harder, faster and faster.” 

Today, Kalksma is one of the fastest climbers in the world, topping some of the world’s tallest buildings in less than 20 minutes.

Kalksma now climbs 90 floors a day as part of her training regiment. She says the hardest building she’s ever climbed is the Empire State Building, due to the old-fashioned architecture and steepness of the stairs. Other buildings Kalksma has climbed include the Willis Tower in Chicago, and the Comcast Center in Philadelphia.

This summer Kalksma will be the only American climber invited to race to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. She missed her chance to compete there last year after battling multiple myeloma and needing a stem cell transplant. 

Despite the adversity she’s faced, Kalksma says she’s inspired to keep fighting and climbing by the words of her late husband: “Cancer may take the years from my life, but I’m not gonna let it take the life out of my years.”

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