Max’s brave fight

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAR­RYD BARCA

Mr Daye will be com­pet­ing in the Mel­bourne Fire­fighter Stair Climb on Sat­ur­day, Septem­ber 1 to help raise money and aware­ness for sui­cide, de­pres­sion and PTSD.

Ap­prox­i­mately 650 fire­fight­ers from around the coun­try are ex­pected to take part in this year’s an­nual stair climb, where fire­fight­ers need to carry 25 kilo­grams of turnout gear and breath­ing ap­pa­ra­tus.

And Max will be one of them.

“The cause is just a good one,” Mr Daye told The Free Press.

“Men­tal health is­sues are a re­ally big thing these days es­pe­cially PTSD and de­pres­sion, and par­tic­u­larly amongst emer­gency ser­vices and de­fence which is what we’re rais­ing money for.

“On top of that I just like a bit of a phys­i­cal chal­lenge, I thought it was some­thing that would chal­lenge me and it gives me some­thing ex­cit­ing to do and look for­ward to. I haven’t done it be­fore, this is my first time.”

The Mel­bourne fire­fighter Stair Climb aims to raise $700,000 for Life­line and the Black Dog In­sti­tute to im­prove sup­port ser­vices, fund re­search, re­move stig­mas and raise aware­ness of men­tal health is­sues like de­pres­sion, post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der and sui­cide, es­pe­cially for those within the emer­gency ser­vice and de­fence com­mu­ni­ties.

Ac­cord­ing to the MFSC web­site roughly three mil­lion Aus­tralians are liv­ing with de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety, with sui­cide be­ing the lead­ing cause of death among Aus­tralians aged be­tween 15 and 44. Roughly 10 per cent of emer­gency ser­vice peo­ple suf­fer from PTSD.

“Men­tal ill­ness is a pretty com­mon thing in so­ci­ety and there are prob­a­bly not many peo­ple that don’t know some­body that has been af­fected by it or even af­fected by it them­selves,” Mr Daye said.

“I think it’s a good thing that I’m do­ing this and hope­fully I can raise a bit of money to try and help folks that are out there suf­fer­ing from it.

“On the (Mel­bourne Fire­fighter Stair Climb) web­site it says there have been 41 Aus­tralian sol­diers that have com­mit­ted sui­cide in the last lit­tle while but I be­lieve the num­ber is around about 250 since 1999 just from dif­fer­ent em­ploy­ments. It’s a huge is­sue for emer­gency ser­vices too.

“I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to it be­cause of the tough phys­i­cal chal­lenge, but I just re­ally be­lieve in the cause as well so it ticks two boxes for me.”

Mr Daye is no stranger when it comes to a dar­ing fit­ness test, hav­ing com­peted in sev­eral marathons and an Ironman chal­lenge in New Zealand nearly 17 years ago.

The three-year CFA mem­ber is al­ways up for a chal­lenge and is cer­tainly look­ing for­ward to this one.

“I’m hop­ing I’m fit enough, I think the av­er­age time is about 10 min­utes so if I can get un­der that it would be good,” he said.

“I think a guy from a New Zealand Fire Ser­vice won it in about three min­utes or some­thing ridicu­lous like that last year so I don’t know about that but I think I can get to the top in one piece.”

Mr Daye is a vol­un­teer fire­fighter who started off in in Wodonga, and has done a range of things help­ing erad­i­cate wild fire sit­u­a­tions, ur­ban fires, struc­tures and grass and scrub fires.

De­spite liv­ing a life of want­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence a phys­i­cally ex­haust­ing chal­lenge and be­ing nat­u­rally fit and a keen, Mr Daye ad­mit­ted he has been train­ing for this year’s event.

“I’m do­ing a fair bit of train­ing for it, a lot of stair work and a bit of gym work, try­ing to get my­self ready for it,” he said.

“There’s a fair bit of strength work that I’m do­ing in the gym, which is mainly just work­ing on leg strength and core. For gen­eral fit­ness I’ve been do­ing a lit­tle bit of cy­cling as well.”

So far, Max has raised $195 of his $1,000 goal to go to­wards men­tal health.

There are 57 days left to do­nate money. To find out more about the event, Life­line, Black Dog In­sti­tute or to do­nate money and spon­sor Max, visit the MFSC web­site at https://www. fire­fight­er­climb.org.au/.

One of Ruther­glen’s finest vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers, Max Daye will be un­der­tak­ing the most dif­fi­cult of chal­lenges when he races up 28 floors of Crown Metropol Ho­tel in Mel­bourne later this year.

Max Daye is geared up for this year’s stair climb.

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