Lofty goals for fire crews at Sky Tower Challenge
A group of Marlborough firefighters are stepping up to the challenge, literally, to help raise funds for a national cancer charity.
A crew from the Blenheim Volunteer Fire Brigade and a team from the Rarangi Rural Fire Force have been training hard for the Firefighter Sky Tower Challenge.
Seven members from the Blenheim brigade and three from Rarangi will put their strength and endurance to the test racing up the Sky Tower in Auckland at the annual fundraiser on May 13.
Together, the teams have raised more than $17,000 for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand.
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Rarangi crew member Lisa Stewart has already raised $10,227, the second highest amount raised nationally by an individual firefighter.
"I thought I was one of those lucky people with no ties to leukaemia," Lisa says.
But once she started "bucket-shaking", she discovered her favourite school teacher and the child of a friend had cancer, she says.
"I think it affects more people than we realise."
The teams face a gruelling climb up the 328-metre tower, which takes them up 1103 steps carrying 25 kilograms of gear.
The Rarangi crew, who are entering for the first time, have raised $13,389 in total.
For some committed members of the Blenheim brigade the challenge will be a repeat performance.
Support crew member Jennifer Ruffell says the team are well aware of how daunting the task is and have been practising by climbing the steps in Blenheim's only multi-storey car park.
"They've done a lot of gym work and have utilised the car park steps," she says.
Under the support of team captain Tony Nolan, the crew have raised $7494.60 and are aiming for $10,000
"We appreciate the support from the Marlborough community, they've been extremely generous, especially when you consider that this year a rural fire team has entered and fundraised too," she says.
For further information or to donate to the cause visit firefightersclimb.org.nz.
- The Marlborough Express