Team Porirua on fire in fundraising mission

BLAKE CRAYTON-BROWN
Last updated 11:41 29/04/2014
Porirua sky tower challenge
BLAKE CRAYTON-BROWN/FAIRFAX NZ
Geared up: Amy Toomath and Paul Setefano from the Porirua Fire Brigade’s Sky Tower Challenge team. 

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The fundraising battle for the Firefighter Sky Tower Challenge is heating up.

In the annual challenge, firefighters kit up with over 25kg of gear and race up the narrow stairwell of Auckland's Sky Tower.

In the process, they raise money for Leukemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand.

Porirua Fire Brigade is sending a team of six to compete on May 17. At present the team leads the fundraising nationwide. Team leader Paul Setefano said he was looking forward to his fifth climb up the tower's 1103 steps.

"There are two things people like to brag about - one is getting to the top quickest and the other is fundraising - who can raise the most," he said.

"We've always made a point of making sure we raise a decent amount. The last couple of years we've been bridesmaids for fundraising, we've come second."

Setefano said four team members were in the top 10 nationwide for individual fundraising.

"Lots of brigades hold on to their fundraising money until the last week or so, but we wanted to run a transparent campaign. Hopefully it will motivate other brigades to keep pace with us," he said.

The team's fundraising process wasn't very scientific with a lot of shaking red buckets outside shops and markets, said team treasurer Amy Toomath.

For Toomath, it wasn't unrealistic for the team to aim to raise $50,000.

Setefano said he was proud of the way the Porirua community had rallied behind the cause.

"People here just have a really good understanding of what it is to struggle. We're a lower socio- economic area and when they hear we're fundraising for people who are fighting terminal illnesses, many people here can identify with that kind of struggle," he said.

Setefano said he trained for the climb by practising in carpark buildings with layers of clothes and a backpack on to simulate the heat.

See Team Porirua's progress at firefightersclimb.org.nz.

THE NUMBERS SO FAR

$353,327: Raised nationwide.

$33,359: Raised by Team Porirua.

$30,913: Raised by Team Auckland Airport Rescue.

$16,511: Raised by Team Canterbury.

$9,963: Raised by Team Porirua's Paul Setefano.


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