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Sky Tower challenges firefighters

More than seven hundred firefighters from around New Zealand will race up Auckland’s most iconic structure on Saturday, May 17 as a part of the ‘Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge,’ of Leukaemia & Blood Cancer (LBC) New Zealand, which does not receive any Government funding.

Lofty goal

A fundraising goal of $1 million has been set for this significant milestone anniversary, prompting creative and innovative fundraising strategies from 184 New Zealand-based brigades, along with 13 international firefighters from Washington, Hawaii and Australia participating in the race.

The event, which sees firefighters race up 1103 stairs of the Tower wearing 25 kg of equipment, has grown from its humble beginning in 2005 with 88 firefighters raising just over $17,000 to a major event with wider participation of firefighters.

The collection thus far is $237,000, with Porirua’s brigade claiming the largest share (about $28,000) through shaking collection buckets in their local community.

The Auckland Airport Rescue Fire Brigade is close followed with $27,000.

Auctioning people

Other interesting initiatives include 26-year-old Jonathan Bunn and Caleb Gardner from Fielding who have put themselves up for auction on Trade Me in a bid to raise funds,

The Canterbury Stair Climb Team recently undertook a gruelling walkathon from Rangiora to Rolleston in firefighting gear to raise funds and awareness. Cust firefighter Mick Cooke and his students also built a firefighter playhouse to sell on Trade Me.

Funds raised from event go back into the community by helping LBC continue to run their vital service supporting the six New Zealanders diagnosed with a blood cancer or related condition every day.

Phenomenal support

LBC New Zealand Chief Executive Pru Etcheverry described the level of support for Sky Tower as ‘phenomenal.’

“We are incredibly touched by the amazing effort and generosity of firefighters across the country; they who give so much of their time to fundraise on our behalf. It has been amazing to see the event grow,” he said.

Sky City Auckland General Manager John Mortensen said that the ‘Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge’ has been an exciting feature in the Sky Tower calendar for ten years and that it has become a successful fundraiser.

“As the tallest man-made building in the Southern Hemisphere, the Sky Tower is a truly unique part of Auckland and this event is also one-of-a-kind. Sky City is proud to see the Sky Tower put to good use to support a worthy charity,” he said.

Some Facts about the Challenge

700 firefighters

51 flights of stairs

1103 individual steps

184 brigades and stations

Some Facts about blood cancers

Six New Zealanders are diagnosed with a blood cancer every day

About 2200 New Zealanders are affected each year

The cause of blood cancers is unknown

These diseases can strike anyone at any age anywhere

Immediate treatment essential

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