FITNESS among hundreds of Australian and New Zealand firies will be put to the test next week in the Fire Fighters Climb for Motor Neurone Disease.
Merewether firefighters continued their preparation for Sydney Tower’s 1504 stairs this week at Newcastle’s most famous set of fitness steps.
The firefighters hit the stairs at Merewether Ocean Baths as rain bucketed down over the Hunter coast on Wednesday.
Deputy captain Harry Pearce said the annual charity climb is a tough challenge, but it is “nothing compared to what people with MND go through”.
“Every day three people in Australia die from this devastating disease,” he said.
“Another 800 Australians will be diagnosed with MND this year, so research is urgently needed to help find answers.”
The climb has raised more than $1.5 million since it began in 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,” Macquarie University Professor Dominic Rowe said.
“None of this work would be possible without the support, enthusiasm and efforts of firefighters.”
Fire and Rescue NSW firefighter Matt Pridham started the climb after his friend, Adam Regal, was diagnosed with MND.
But Mr Regal tragically lost his battle with the disease earlier this year.
Deputy captain Pearce said the loss of Mr Regal would make for an emotional event on Saturday, October 20.
About 600 firies will make the climb, powering up 98 floors of Sydney’s tallest building wearing more than 20kg of gear.
Mr Pearce said he expects to finish in about 14 minutes.
He said his crew were eager to continue their rivalry with the City of Sydney fire station.
Donations to the Merewether team can be made on the climb’s website, or with cash at Talulah Bar or Drift Food & Coffee.