Returning to the tower top
Sweat beads roll down his face, pooling in his mask. Breaths become laboured, gear becomes heavier, steps become shorter but still he climbs the 51 flights of stairs.
Each of the 1103 individual steps brings Southbridge volunteer firefighter Wayne Maw closer to the top of Auckland’s Sky Tower.
Compared to what those he hopes to aid go through, this pain is nothing, he thinks.
This year he took second place in the over 50s category, crossing the line after 12 minutes and 27 seconds of constant strain.
Maw and his brigade completed their sixth Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge earlier this year and are now beginning the process of fundraising for next year.
‘‘We’re fundraising now, we didn’t actually stop. That’s what it’s all about, it’s Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand’s (LBC) biggest fundraiser,’’ Maw said.
In the past the brigade had run quiz nights, BBQs and had been ‘‘out bucket shaking’’ to raise the funds. This year they were scrap hunting.
To support the brigade, people could donate scrap metal or old car batteries to be taken and sold to Metalcorp NZ.
‘‘Every now and again we’ll do a scrap run. People who have scrap, they can just take it to Metalcorp and it just goes into the fund.’’
Over the past six years the Southbridge brigade had raised almost $85,000 towards the cause. ‘‘Not too bad for a town of 900,’’ Maw said.
The last three events had each raised more than $1 million for LBC. Climbers paid their own way to the event to ensure all money raised went to LBC.
‘‘It’s a fundraiser, but if you get enough firefighters in one place it becomes a race,’’ Maw said.
Training for next year’s event would begin in earnest in spring, and staying ahead of younger climbers, including his son Steven from the Leeston fire brigade, kept Maw’s head in the game.
‘‘No one [from Southbridge] has beat me up there in six years and I’m the oldest. I’m 53 now. They’re not going to beat me, that’s my motivation.’’
Wayne Maw and the Southbridge Volunteer Fire Brigade are fundraising already for next year’s event.