Four Cambridge volunteer firefighters joined around 950 others in a race up the Auckland Sky Tower last Saturday, taking the 1,103 steps to the top clad in full firefighting kit and breathing apparatus weighing up to 25kg. As well as tackling the physical trial of the Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge, the Cambridge team was raising funds for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand. More than $1.25M was raised overall, smashing the target of $1M. Of that, $2,225 was raised by the Cambridge participants – well over their goal of $1,000. First-time participant Michael Graham said the event was about as difficult as he expected, and that he would definitely be doing it again next year. The camaraderie among the firefighters was an added bonus, he added, with everyone there for the same goal. “It was a lot of fun,” he said.
The first firefighter stair challenge was in 2005, when 88 firefighters raised $17,500. Since then, the event has raised more than $7M for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer NZ, which is committed to improving the quality of life for patients and their families living with leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and related blood conditions, as well as funding research.
Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand General Manager Georgie Hackett said the organisation was so grateful for the generosity and hard work of firefighters participating in the Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge. “We are also so thankful to the many communities throughout the country who support their local brigades so enthusiastically in their fundraising efforts. This fundraising is the backbone of our service and helps us grow our vital support for families living with blood cancer in their communities right across the country.”
The fastest firefighter winning for his eighth year in a row was Josh Harrison of Mt Wellington Fire Brigade with a personal best of 8 minutes and 11 seconds.