Eleven-year-old leukaemia patient climbs Sky Tower with his heroes

May 22, 2019

Eleven-year-old leukaemia patient climbs Sky Tower with his heroes

Firefighters helped a young fan complete the Sky Tower Star Challenge, while fundraising a record breaking $1.3 million for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand. Photo: Supplied

Firefighters fundraising at the annual Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge last Saturday have found themselves a new recruit.

Eleven-year-old Aucklander DJ, who has acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, became an honorary fireman for the day and was given a helmet and mini firefighter uniform.

“It was challenging, and fun and I want to do it again.

“When I get better, I want to train to be a fireman so I can join the Waiuku Fire Brigade and be in this event running all 51 floors with them,” DJ said.

He was unable to climb the 1103 stairs on his own, so he completed a portion of the challenge accompanied by his heroes from the fire service – Philip Shore and John Danes from Waiuku Brigade as well as Tony Scott from Auckland Airport Fire and Rescue.

Donal McGoldrick, a support services co-ordinator from Leukaemia Blood and Cancer New Zealand who had worked with DJ over the past year, accompanied him and the firefighters to the finish line.

“It has been a rough year for DJ, so it’s great to be a part of something that puts a smile on his face. It was deeply moving to do something special like this for him,” said Mr McGoldrick.

LBC said in a statement that they fundraised $1.3 million, beating last year’s total of approximately $1.25 million

LBC CEO Peter Fergusson is “incredibly grateful” for all the support the organisation has received.

“We don’t receive any government funding, so the money raised is the backbone of our service to support patients,” Mr Fergusson said.

In the same statement, LBC mentioned the successful results of both individual and fire station fundraising.

Henry Wilson from the Silverstream Brigade in Wellington raised the most by a single individual, with $21,135. Genesis Energy ERT from Genesis Huntly Power Station was the top fundraising team from the day, raising $61,003.

Josh Harrison from Mt Wellington won the challenge overall, reaching the 51st floor in just eight minutes and 34 seconds, while Ady Mckenzie from Whangarei was the fastest female with a time of 11 minutes and 20 seconds.

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