Corowa ‘firies’ climb for MND

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

Five brave fire­fight­ers from Fire and Res­cue NSW Sta­tion 268 Corowa are pre­par­ing to climb all 1,504 stairs of the Syd­ney Tower Eye on Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 20 to raise funds for Mo­tor Neu­rone Disease (MND).

Daryl Price, Aaron Car­rick, James Beirne, Josh Fin­nemore and An­thony Grant will join nearly 600 fire­fight­ers across Aus­tralia and New Zealand, who will be wear­ing their full fire­fight­ing gear weigh­ing over 20kg, as they climb 98 floors to the ob­ser­va­tion deck of Syd­ney’s tallest build­ing.

Now in its fourth year, the Fire­fight­ers Climb for MND was started by Fire and Res­cue NSW fire­fighter Matt Prid­ham af­ter his friend, Adam Re­gal, was di­ag­nosed with MND.

MND is a pro­gres­sive, ter­mi­nal neu­ro­log­i­cal disease with no known cause or cure. Part­ner­ing with Mac­quarie Univer­sity, fire­fight­ers are rais­ing much-needed funds to sup­port MND re­search,

The five Corowa-based fire­fight­ers said they were not only ex­cited, but proud to be a part of the event and con­trib­ute to rais­ing funds to help rid such a hideous disease.

They have raised nearly $3,000 of their $7,520 team tar­get, which equates to a dol­lar per step for each of the fire­fight­ers.

Mr Beirne, who will be bat­tling the Tower Eye steps for the third time, said to The Free Press they would be “stoked” if they could reach their goal, also adding “any con­tri­bu­tion large or small would be greatly ap­pre­ci­ated”.

The Corowa fire­fight­ers have held sev­eral BBQs to help raise funds, both out­side of Wool­worths and Corowa Supa IGA.

Mr Price said it is very en­cour­ag­ing to see the amount of sup­port they have been get­ting for the stair climb.

“Craig down at IGA has been fan­tas­tic to us. Our fundrais­ing has ac­tu­ally been quite suc­cess­ful, it’s amaz­ing how many peo­ple come up and ask you ‘what are you doing this for?’ and then don’t want a sausage but do­nate any­way. It’s re­ally cool,” he told The Free Press.

Pro­fes­sor Do­minic Rowe from Mac­quarie Univer­sity said fire­fight­ers’ ef­forts were vi­tal in help­ing the univer­sity to con­tinue its search for a cure to MND.

“It is only through the sup­port of the com­mu­nity and fundrais­ing events like the Fire­fight­ers Climb that we are able to con­tinue our fight against this disease. Ev­ery do­na­tion is im­por­tant and en­ables us to ex­pand our re­search pro­grams and clin­i­cal tri­als,” he said.

The Fire­fight­ers Climb for MND has raised more than $1.5 mil­lion since 2015, help­ing to fund two clin­i­cal tri­als at Mac­quarie Univer­sity’s MND Re­search Cen­tre.

“The world first ‘Light­house Trial’ ap­pears to have helped slow the disease in at least a por­tion of pa­tients on the med­i­ca­tion. None of this work would be pos­si­ble without the sup­port, en­thu­si­asm and ef­forts of fire­fight­ers,” Pro­fes­sor Rowe said.

Mr Price said the re­cent death of a fire­fighter due to the disease has given this event a whole new mean­ing.

Aware that it will be a gru­elling chal­lenge, he knows it is noth­ing in com­par­i­son to the chal­lenge pa­tients with MND face ev­ery sin­gle day.

“It’s a great ini­tia­tive and we’re proud to be a part of it. To get that many fire­fight­ers in the one spot for one cause is pretty cool,” he said.

Dur­ing the de­mand­ing climb, some floors on the way up are ded­i­cated to peo­ple who have passed away from MND, mean­ing while the fire­fight­ers are rac­ing up the stairs, they will be get­ting a true re­minder of why they are there.

“We’ll be rac­ing up the stairs but at the same time you’re look­ing at faces and names of peo­ple who have suf­fered from this and there’s a story about them,” Mr Beirne said.

“It’s su­per hot in that tower and very tight, quite claus­tro­pho­bic, it’s men­tally and phys­i­cally tough be­cause once you’re in there’s no go­ing back - no exit points.

“You don’t want to be that one per­son head­ing back down be­cause you can’t do it.”

The five fire­fight­ers have been gen­er­ally train­ing all year long, but re­ally “kicked off hard” in April, which in­cluded tak­ing the full sets to the gym to start ac­cli­ma­tis­ing them­selves to the tough con­di­tions they’ll face on the steps.

Mr Beirne said he is most look­ing for­ward to the “sense of achieve­ment you feel when you reach the top, as well as know­ing that you’ve helped the cause”.

Each day in Aus­tralia, two peo­ple die from MND, while more than two peo­ple are di­ag­nosed with the disease.

There is no dead­line on when you need to do­nate by, but peo­ple can show their sup­port by spon­sor­ing a fire­fighter or team of fire­fight­ers at firi­esclimb­formnd.org.au. Fire­fight­ers will also be col­lect­ing do­na­tions out­side of the Syd­ney Tower Eye in Pitt Street Mall on Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 20.

Head to this link to do­nate di­rectly to Fire and Res­cue Sta­tion 268 Corowa and help your lo­cal fire­fight­ers reach their goal: https://firi­esclimb­formnd.go­fundraise.com.au/ page/268Corowa.

Five Corowa fire­fight­ers have al­ready raised around $3,000 to help find a cure for Mo­tor Neu­rone Disease (MND). Pic­tured is Daryl Price (left), James Beirne, Aaron Car­rick and Josh Fin­nemore.

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