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Fighting fires, fear, battle against leukaemia

News Release

Firefighters Sky Tower Vertical Challenge

Fighting fires, fear, and the battle against leukaemia

Tuesday 2 May, 2006 – Over 100 keen firefighters will test their endurance in a gut-busting challenge up Auckland’s Sky Tower this Saturday 6 May. The test for the firefighters is to climb 47 flights of stairs (1,029 steps) to reach the observation deck overlooking the city. At 328 metres the Sky Tower is the tallest building in the southern hemisphere.

The firefighters will compete in an individual time challenge as well as brigade teams of 3 competing to conquer 10,000 stairs. The firefighters will be wearing full fire-fighting kit and breathing apparatus weighing approximately 22kg. Special guests this year include ‘Fear Factor’ champion Mark Hewlett who will also don a firefighting kit and prove his courage and fitness against the firefighters and the current Canadian Firefighter Combat Challenge Champion, Bob Murray.

Event organiser and firefighter Tony Scott has been bitten by the stair climbing bug and has joined Kiwi teams in stair climb events in Seattle, Chicago and Melbourne. This inspiration has led him to organise the event here in New Zealand and it is now the largest individual firefighting competition in the country.

“Kiwis are very athletic, and like to push themselves to achieve. This stair climbing challenge gives participants the chance to test their endurance and do something fantastic by raising funds for the Leukaemia & Blood Foundation (LBF). The response has been positively overwhelming and I can see this event continuing to grow by the year,” he said.

In 2005 the dedicated firefighters not only broke racing records but hit a fundraising record too with over $16,000 being raised for the LBF. The firefighters are again seeking sponsorship for their efforts from friends, colleagues and family, many of whom will be there on the day to cheer them on.

Pru Etcheverry, Executive Director of the Leukaemia & Blood Foundation, says “The diagnosis of leukaemia can have far-reaching consequences for patients and their families. The LBF provides assistance for people dealing with their illness and treatment and getting back to a normal life through individualised patient support programmes including educational booklets, support groups, counselling and financial support.”

“The Leukaemia & Blood Foundation receives no government funding. As such, the energy and enthusiasm of supporters like Tony and the firefighters is invaluable, and ultimately makes our work possible”, she said. “We encourage members of the public to come along to the Sky Tower on Saturday to support the terrific people participating in this unique event.”

Event details
Date: Saturday 6th May, 2006
Time: 9am-12 noon
Venue: Sky Tower
Address: SKYCITY, Federal Street, Auckland Central

To make a donation to the Leukaemia & Blood Foundation in support of the firefighters, please call 0800 15 10 15.


About the Leukaemia & Blood Foundation
Four people every day are diagnosed with leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma or a related condition. The Leukaemia & Blood Foundation, New Zealand’s organisation dedicated to the support of patients and families with these diseases, relies entirely on money raised through fundraising events including Shave for a Cure®, Lunch for Leukaemia, public donations, sponsorships and grants. The need for these services is constantly growing, with patient referrals to the LBF increasing by 80% in the past year and LBF patient support services currently responding to 500 incoming requests per month.

Please call 0800 15 10 15 or visit for more information on the services offered by the LBF.

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