Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge
Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge - Saturday 17 May
The firefighters’ race to raise $1 million for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand (LBC) via has reached nearly $560,000, six days out from this year’s event. On 17 May, 700 firefighters will race up 1,103 stairs of Auckland’s iconic Sky Tower wearing 25kg of equipment and breathing apparatus.
The annual Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge is this year celebrating its tenth anniversary The event has grown exponentially over the years. The first Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge in 2005 was led by 88 firefighters, and raised just over $17,000. This year more than 180 brigades from across the country will take part, and firefighters from as far afield Australia, USA and Hawaii are all travelling to compete in the event.
Auckland Airport Rescue Fire Brigade currently sits in first place, having fundraised over $38,000. They have been pulling the tourism dollar by training on the escalators at Auckland International Airport to help raise funds. The Porirua brigade is close behind in second place, having raised close to $36,000.
It will be an early start for the firefighters, with Tamaki Makaurau-based Kapa Haka group Raukura calling them towards the challenge start point at 7:40am. The challenge kicks off at 8am until the last competitor gets their chance to take on the tower at 2pm.
The competition looks fierce, with Josh Harrison from Otara Station hoping to defend his three-year winning streak. Having had the fastest time every year since 2011, Harrison is determined to beat his time of 8 minutes and 37 seconds and claim the 10th anniversary title.
In the women’s category, last year’s champion Leona Smith from Plimmerston Volunteer Fire Brigade has returned to defend her title, along with Tracey Lemon representing Waihi Beach Volunteer Brigade, who came in a close second.
While Auckland Airport and Porirua battle it out for the top spot, Glenbrook Steel Mill Industrial Fire Birgade has turned fundraising into a unique learning experience for primary school children in the greater South Auckland area. The brigade has visited several schools giving the kids “combat” training as firefighters. Gold coin donations have helped boost their fundraising total to almost $5,800.
Meanwhile the Napier Volunteer Fire Brigade has been hitting the treadmills and recently completed a 24-hour walkathon that raised more than $1,600. The team is currently in fourth place, having raised almost $16,000.
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 it’s been incredible seeing how generous New Zealand firefighters have been with their time and energy.
“For 10 years firefighters across the country have tirelessly fundraised on our behalf. The funds raised go towards helping people in their communities through our national support services programme.
“I’m delighted to mark the tenth anniversary of this event and am really looking forward to seeing who takes out the top fundraising honours and is the fastest up the Sky Tower,” says Ms Etcheverry.
SKYCITY Auckland General Manager John Mortensen says the $1 million fundraising target is an ambitious goal for a worthwhile cause.
“The money raised so far is a phenomenal achievement, and we’re urging people to get behind the firefighters as they climb closer to their goal of $1 million,” Mr Mortensen says.
“We have been honoured to open the Tower up to this fantastic event for the past ten years. SKYCITY is backing LBC and the firefighters every step of the way, right to the top of the Tower,” he says.
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