Motivation comes from within
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.