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More than 700 firefighters to take on Sky Tower Challenge

MEDIA RELEASE – 1 April, 2014

More than 700 firefighters to take on Sky Tower Challenge in its tenth year

More than seven hundred firefighters from around New Zealand will race up Auckland’s most iconic structure on Saturday May 17 as part of Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand’s (LBC’s) Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge, which has seen places to the tenth event snapped up in a record 20 minutes.

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 who are flying in from Washington, Hawaii and Australia to race up Auckland’s Sky Tower in support of this worthy cause.

The event, which sees firefighters race up 1,103 stairs of the tower wearing 25kg of equipment, has grown from humble beginnings after first starting in 2005 with 88 firefighters raising just over $17,000.

So far, close to $237,000 has been raised, with Porirua’s brigade ranking highest having fundraised close to $28,000 through shaking collection buckets in their local community at every spare moment. Auckland Airport Rescue Fire Brigade are close behind in second place having raised over $27,000 and have been training on the escalators at Auckland International Airport to help raise funds.

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 fundshttp://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=705870688.
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 http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=705870688.

The funds raised from event go back into the community by helping LBC continue to run their vital service supporting the six kiwis diagnosed with a blood cancer or related condition every day. LBC receives no Government funding.
Pru Etcheverry, CEO of Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand, says the level of support from New Zealand firefighters for the Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge is phenomenal.

“We are incredibly touched by the amazing effort and generosity of firefighters across the country who give up so much of their time to fundraise on our behalf,” says Ms Etcheverry.

“It’s been amazing to see the event grow from its small beginnings with 88 firefighters who raised an admirable $17,500 in 2005 into the iconic fundraiser it has become today,” says Etcheverry.

SKYCITY Auckland General Manager John Mortensen says the Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge has been an exciting feature of the Sky Tower calendar for ten years and it has been a pleasure watching the event grow from small beginnings into such a successful fundraiser.

“We are so impressed year after year by the fighting spirit the brigades bring to this event, from their training and fundraising, to racing up more than 1,000 steps of Auckland’s most iconic structure.

“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. SKYCITY is so proud to see the Sky Tower put to such good use to support this very worthy charity and we are behind all the teams as they work hard to achieve the $1 million fundraising target this year.”

The event is supported by SKYCITY (the major sponsor), Auckland Airport and Tait Communications.

To find out how to support your local brigade visit www.firefightersclimb.org.nz
ENDS
Numbers
700 firefighters
51 flights of stairs in the Firefighters Sky Tower Challenge
1,103 individual steps
184 participating brigades and stations
Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand
• Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand (LBC) is the national charity dedicated to supporting patients and their families living with blood cancers and related blood conditions. www.leukaemia.org.nz
• LBC does not receive government funding – the dollars raised from the Firefighters Sky Tower Stair Challenge help fund our core services including patient support, support and funding for research, awareness and advocacy
Key facts about blood cancers
• Every day, 6 New Zealanders are diagnosed with a blood cancer that’s about 2,200 New Zealanders a year
• The cause of blood cancers is unknown.
• These diseases can strike anyone, of any age, at any time, without warning.
• Immediate treatment may be necessary and that treatment can go on for months or even years.

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