Hunter fire fighters train hard ahead of Sydney Tower Eye climb to fight Motor Neurone Disease

Training: Fire fighters Dean Russell, Matthew Russell, Chris Baggs, Simon Rostron and Luke Russell prepare for their climb.
Training: Fire fighters Dean Russell, Matthew Russell, Chris Baggs, Simon Rostron and Luke Russell prepare for their climb.

More than 1500 stairs while carrying 25kg of gear – that’s the task that awaits dozens of Hunter firefighters in the name of spreading awareness and raising money to fight Motor Neurone Disease.

Firefighters from a range of stations across the Hunter Region, including Lambton, Newcastle, Stockton and Belmont, will join hundreds of their colleagues when they climb the stairs of the Sydney Tower Eye – the landmark building once known as Centrepoint Tower – on October 14.

But first, the firefighters are squeezing in their final training sessions.

People can get a glimpse of the firefighters’ tough training regime – and join in some boot camp-style activities themselves – by getting along to The 365 Lifestyle fitness centre in Mitchell Street, Merewether, from 10am on Saturday.

It will also be a chance to donate to the cause ahead of the big climb next weekend.

Chris Baggs, from the Fire and Rescue NSW station at Lambton, will take part in the climb for the second year in a row.

“There have been a lot of people in the service who have had family and friends who have suffered and, sadly, passed away from the disease,” he said.

“So anything we can do to try and get some awareness out there is really great.

“I personally don’t have anyone in my family that’s suffered, but one of the guys at our station has and I’ve seen how it’s affected him.”

Money raised from the event will go to Macquarie University, which is home to Australia’s largest Motor Neurone Disease research centre.

It employs more than 50 people who are working to end the terminal neurological disease.

Motor Neurone Disease is the name given to a group of diseases in which the nerve cells that control the muscles that allow people to move, speak, breathe and swallow, fail to work normally.

Over time, people with the disease find their muscles weaken and waste. The disease can strike anyone and there is no known cure, according to Motor Neurone Disease Australia.

Visit firiesclimbformnd.org.au for more information about teams and how to donate.