Mo­ti­va­tion comes from within

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

This year’s gru­elling Sky Tower Stair Chal­lenge has ex­tra sig­nif­i­cance for the Pu­taruru Vol­un­teer Fire Bri­gade.

Just be­fore Christ­mas one of their own, Ge­orge Nor­ridge, fin­ished 18 weeks of chemo­ther­apy af­ter he was di­ag­nosed with lym­phoma.

To help raise funds for Leukaemia and Blood Can­cer New Zealand’s (LBC) on­go­ing re­search and sup­port work, this year 11 mem­bers of the bri­gade are set to take part in the Auckland based chal­lenge on May 13.

They’ll join around 900 climbers who will tackle the Sky Tower’s 1103 steps in full fire­fight­ing gear.

Nor­ridge said his di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment meant they were more de­ter­mined to give the chal­lenge an­other go and he en­cour­aged oth­ers to show their sup­port via dona­tions too.

‘‘It was in 2013 when they first sus­pected I had lym­phoma but they couldn’t trace it un­til last year when they did a biopsy and that was it, I was on the chemo straight away,’’ he said.

‘‘When you think about chemo you think peo­ple are just resting but it makes you feel re­ally crap and dur­ing those 18 weeks I felt like I had never felt be­fore.

‘‘I can re­ally sym­pa­thise with peo­ple go­ing through these sort of con­di­tions be­cause I have been there my­self. I did the chal­lenge last year with lym­phoma and it is def­i­nitely ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion to get be­hind the chal­lenge now that I have been through chemo­ther­apy for it.’’

Fel­low fire­fighter An­gela Gra­ham said this year the bri­gade had a mix of old hands, new­bies and sec­ond timers tak­ing part who range in age from 21 to 50.

‘‘We are do­ing quite a lot of train­ing go­ing to the Hakari­mata Sum­mit in Ngaru­awahia, the Mount, and Wairere Falls,’’ she said.

‘‘We are all out to beat our times from last year. I won’t tell you what they were but they ranged from 12.48 min­utes to 30 min­utes,’’ she laughed.

They are also tak­ing part in a 24 hour bikeathon fundraiser from mid­day on April 1 at Countdown and Z where they will each have stints rid­ing an ex­er­cise bike and a car­wash.

An Easter ham­per raf­fle which will be out­side Countdown on Thurs­day or via the bri­gade on 883 8620.Visit fire­fight­er­sclimb.org.nz to do­nate di­rectly to the chal­lenge.

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