AUCKLAND: Several hundreds of firefighters took the Auckland Sky Tower Stair Challenge in New Zealand to raise funds and awareness for leukaemia and blood cancer charity on Saturday.
The Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge is an annual event where hundreds of firefighters collect funds and race up 51 flights of stairs of the Auckland Sky Tower, while wearing a full firefighting kit. The Challenge is aimed to raise money for the Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand (LBC) charity.
On Saturday, after months of training, almost 1,000 firefighters climbed the 1,103 steps of the Sky Tower, each carrying 25 kg of equipment, along with photographs of the cancer patients and families they are supporting to keep them motivated throughout the challenging race.
During the past 17 years, 1,357,090 New Zealand dollars (974,603.17 U.S. dollars) have been raised to support patients and their families living with blood cancers and related blood conditions.
LBC is a New Zealand national charity dedicated to supporting patients and their families. Chief Executive Peter Fergusson recognised the huge efforts by the firefighters that have helped tens of thousands of blood cancer patients during the most vulnerable time of their lives.
"From the humble beginnings this iconic event has now reached the amazing milestone of raising over 10 million New Zealand dollars during the events history. Great things do indeed come from small beginnings," said Fergusson.
The 328-meter-high Sky Tower is the Southern Hemisphere's tallest man-made structure, and is one of New Zealand's most recognisable landmarks.
Each year firefighters from around New Zealand and international competitors from Australia, the United States, Chile and Germany fundraise and compete in this challenge event.