Corowa ‘firies’ climb for MND
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.