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Thursday, May 21

Auckland Airport firefighters climb an uphill battle for charity

A team of Auckland Airport firefighters will race up the 1,103 steps of Auckland’s Sky Tower this Saturday and the reward is more than the calorie burning and awesome view at the top.

The gruelling leg burning stair climb is a charity fundraiser for the New Zealand Leukaemia & Blood Foundation (LBF) and the people suffering with this illness are facing their own uphill battle.

Leukaemia is the fourth most common cancer in New Zealand with six people diagnosed each day. The LBF hope to raise over $100,000 to help provide resources and information for patients, family members and friends affected by the disease.

“Auckland Airport is providing a kick-start to the fundraising efforts with a $15,000 donation,” says CEO Simon Moutter. “This money has come from the generosity of the travelling public who donate their foreign currency in donation globes positioned throughout the airport.”

“The airport has a 60 strong team of firefighters and every year a group competes in this challenge. We decided to come on board as a key partner to encourage fitness and well being and support this great cause,” says Simon. “Our firefighters are in the business of helping people and this is just another way for them to do it.”

Getting even further behind this great cause, Simon Moutter himself is stepping up to the challenge and will be racing in a special guest category. He feels stair climbing is one of his strengths and is confident he will make it to the top in a good time!

Event organiser and airport emergency officer, Tony Scott, says stair climbing is one of the most gruelling sports known to mankind. “It’s a total body workout and you burn twice as many calories than any other activity.”

Each competitor wears 25kgs of full firefighting combat gear for the climb. This might seem a heavy load to carry, but nothing compared to the load that families must carry when a member is battling leukaemia. The quickest time to the top will be around 10 minutes, an average time is 17 minutes

Prizes are awarded to those who get to the top first, but the most hotly contested prize is the team that raises the most money. The airport team have been fundraising and training in the airport over the last couple of months, continually climbing an escalator in the international terminal in their fire gear. Travellers have witnessed their training efforts and given their loose change in support of the grueling leg burning climb.

Our guys are working hard at trying to break the fundraising record of more than $16,000,” says Tony.

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