In November 2019, firefighters climbed Sydney Tower Eye, in full kit, to raise money and awareness for Macquarie University Research Centre to help find a cure for Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
The climb was founded by firefighter, Matt Pridham, to raise money for his best mate, Adam Regal, who suffered from the disease. Adam was 35 years old when he sadly lost his battle to MND in August 2018.
Last November, in its fifth consecutive year, 600 firefighters around Australia rallied around the cause and took to the gruelling challenge in honour of Adam and the 2,100 Australians living with MND. Among them was West Wyalong climber, Ben Reid.
Ben and four others from West Wyalong Fire Station got involved in the climb through Matt, who they knew through rescue training and the NSW Fire community.
West Wyalong and its surrounding areas in the NSW Riverina district are a known hotspot for MND. “When we were doing our fundraising and ticket sales on the weekends, you’d meet so many people who were related to or knew someone who had died from the disease – it was a real eye opener,” Ben said.
Before tackling the climb, Ben said he met Paralympian gold medallist, Kurt Fernley, who gave him a bit of friendly competition. “He found out I was doing the climb, and joked to me if I didn’t do it in under 20 minutes I wasn’t having a crack. Turns out, Kurt had made it to the top of the building, climbing on his hands in just 20 minutes.” He said.
Ben and his team raised an impressive $24,000, which he says was a massive effort from the West Wyalong community. He completed the climb in 23 minutes.
Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus this year’s Firies Climb for MND has been postponed until 2021. But details about the 2021 climb will be released on their Facebook and Instagram pages.
Donations can be made to the Macquarie University Centre for Motor Neuron Disease Research via their website.