LOCAL firefighters have tested themselves physically to raise money for mental health in the 7th Annual Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb.
Prior to COVID-19 the event was scheduled to take place last weekend at Crown Metropol Hotel where firefighters from across the state would wear 25-kilograms of turnout gear and breathing apparatus before racing up the Crown’s stairs.
The event has continued virtually and participating firefighters will complete 3,046 steps during September, with the number of steps also representing the thousands of Australian lives lost to suicide each year.
Funds raised from the event go to Lifeline. the Black Dog Institute, and the 000 Foundation.
Ocean Grove CFA’s Jayden Harrison-Roberts has led the charge in the region, having already raised $500 for this year’s Stair Climb.
He completed his 3,046 on the weekend at the Barwon Heads Bluff stairs.
Mr Harrison-Roberts said he first participated in the climb in 2016 having heard about it from a colleague.
“One of the lieutenants from the brigade (Adam Thompson) encouraged me to do it, and it was for a good cause. As we suffer a lot of mental health issues in firefighting and emergency services I thought ‘this might be my chance to give back,'” he said.
“Ever since then I’ve just loved doing it and wanted to keep doing it. It gives me a challenge every year.”
Presently, Mr Harrison-Roberts is the lone participant from Ocean Grove CFA. Grovedale CFA and a group of local firefighters raising funds under the group name CFA Surfcoast Firies also have participated in this year’s Stair Climb.
More than $85,000 has been raised from the seventh edition of the event so far, and with donations still open, Mr Harrison-Roberts encouraged people to contribute.
“It would be great if we could have more people get behind the cause and donate.”
People can make their donations on behalf of an individual or station.
Donations can be made by heading to firefighterclimb.org.au.