Chemo’ is no barrier to Sky Tower climb
A volunteer firefighter had no idea he had stage three Lymphoma cancer when he first climbed to the top of the Sky Tower.
George Norridge did the climb for charity last year not knowing how sick he was and this year he conquered the same climb again after he completed 18 weeks of chemotherapy in December 2016.
The Putaruru man and fatherof-five was one of 900 Kiwi firefighters to climb 51 flights of stairs in this year’s Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge.
The annual event fundraises for the Leukemia and Blood Cancer foundation. Norridge, 50, was one of the first to climb as both a participant and a blood cancer patient.
He had no training leading up to the event and continued to battle the side effects of having chemotherapy.
He still had no feeling in his toes as he set out to climb the stairs.
Family and friends cheered as Norridge crossed the finish line, climbing the huge flights of stairs in just 23 minutes while dressed in the theme of 101 Dalmatians and representing the Putaruru Volunteer Brigade.
He was disappointed, he wanted to beat his previous time of 18 minutes – the time he achieved before he was aware he had cancer. He stopped once throughout. ‘‘Well that was about ten times harder than last year,’’ Norridge said.
‘‘I feel pretty second-hand. Last year I got to the finish and felt like I could do it again but this year I was lucky to make it to the top.
‘‘But I was going to make it, even if I had to crawl,’’ he said.
It’s a brutal challenge, even for fit and healthy firefighters.
Strapped in full fire fighting kit weighing 25kgs they haul themselves over 1100 stairs.
Some collapse across the finish line. Others are carried by their comrades to the end.
There are tears, smiles of relief, adrenalin and of course, a lot of sweat.
But Norridge channelled the same determination to get to the end as he did when he was at his absolute worst, he said. ‘‘The thing is to not give up.’’ ‘‘There’s a lot to be said for for a positive mental attitude.’’
He aimed to compete in the challenge next year.
There are around 21,000 people living with blood cancer or a related condition in New Zealand.
George Norridge was one of the first climbers in the Firefighter climb who was a blood cancer patient.