THEY’RE fighting the black dog one step at a time.
Kyabram CFA Lieutenants Peter Ferguson, Matthew Ford and Wayne Peterson are pushing themselves for this year’s Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb, hoping to tackle the 28 floors of Crown’s Metropol Hotel in a little over five minutes.
While their training is about to get underway, their fundraising is in full swing as the three fireys are aiming to raise a combined $5000 for Lifeline and the Black Dog Institute to fight depression, post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicide prevention.
To add to the challenge, competitors have to run in full turn out gear, meaning they’re carrying an extra 25kg on the day — breathing apparatus included (and which might just be needed).
For the three of them it’s personal, as they’ve either battled with mental illnesses themselves or supported mates who have been struggling.
This will be Matthew’s first year taking part in the run but he said he’s hoping his overall fitness will pay off. “I’ve seen the photos and videos, but I’m yet to experience it in person,” he said.
“I’ve done the Royal Children’s Hospital Run for the Kids for four years. It’s a 15km run and I’m dragging Ferg along next year.
“And this is another good cause; I wanted to help raise money because they really do need it to support people. I’ve had past experiences and I want to give something back.”
Lieutenant Wayne Peterson isn’t as green however; the seasoned sprinter will be taking on the challenge for a second time Last year he and Ferguson raised $2367 for their climb but he’s confident they can beat it this year.
“The charities support some- thing which resonates with people, we either know someone who was affected or we’ve struggled ourselves,” Peterson said.
“It comes with the job too; we have members of our brigade who have battled. This is for them and everyone out there struggling.”
With barbecue fundraisers planned, the boys are hoping locals will get on board and support them.
But that said, the three have set an ambitious target of achieving a top 10 time in the team category.
To put that into context, the finishing times of contestants range from the sub-four minute mark up to 18 minutes, meaning they’ll have to get their climbing boots on.
Nevertheless, they’re more confident in their fundraising efforts, as they’ve already got the backing of some businesses around town.
“We’d like to thank Baker’s Delight, Main Street Butchery, Rightline Motorcycles and Wickedly Deevine. They’ve donated for the barbecue, space to store things and are putting donation tins out,” Ferguson said.
To support our fireys as they begin their training to the summit, visit firefighterclimb.org.au