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Firefighters climb for a cure to deadly disease

Published: 12th October 2017

Nearly 600 firefighters from across Australia and New Zealand will climb a staggering 1504 steps up the Sydney Tower Eye on Saturday (14 October) to raise funds for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) research.

Firefighters will be wearing their full firefighting gear weighing over 20kg, as they climb 98 floors to the observation deck of Sydney’s tallest building.

Now in its third year, the Firefighters Climb for Motor Neurone Disease was started by Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) firefighter Matt Pridham after his lifelong friend, Adam Regal, was diagnosed with MND.

MND is a progressive, terminal neurological disease with no known cause or cure. This year firefighters are hoping to raise $1 million for the MND Research Centre at Macquarie University.

Professor Dominic Rowe from Macquarie University said firefighters’ efforts were vital in helping the university to continue its search for a cure to MND.

“It is only through the support of the community and fundraising events like the Firefighters Climb that we are able to continue our fight against this disease. Every donation is important and enables us to expand our research programs and clinical trials, which hold the key to further breakthroughs,” he said.

“Every day two people in Australia die from this devastating disease. Another 800 Australians will be diagnosed with MND this year, so research is urgently needed to help find answers.”

Among those taking part in this year’s climb is FRNSW retained firefighter James Rumble, who lost his mother-in-law to MND in 2014.

James said he had been training hard and hoped to complete the climb in about 25 minutes.

“Our challenge is a hard one, but it's nothing compared to what people with MND go through every day,” he said.

People can show their support for the Firefighters Climb for Motor Neurone Disease by sponsoring a firefighter or team of firefighters at firiesclimbformnd.org.au. Firefighters will also be collecting donations outside the Sydney Tower Eye in Pitt Street Mall on Saturday.