Firies from Dubbo have conquered the 98 storeys of the Sydney Tower Eye as they pitched in to battle a devastating illness.
The seven members of the team emerged exhausted but triumphant from the 2018 Firefighters Climb for Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
They were some of the almost 600 people to haul themselves up the 1504 stairs of the landmark.
With the help of the Dubbo community they contributed more than $8800 to the overall tally of more than $704,000 that will go to research into the progressive, terminal neurological disease, for which there is no known treatment or cure.
As crews from across eastern Australia set out they remembered Adam Regal, the Flinders husband and father who fought MND before his death in August.
Dubbo firefighter Joe Bacon said with the recent loss of Mr Regal, who co-founded the event with best friend and firefighter Matt Pridham in 2015, there was “a lot of emotion going on down there”.
“But we all came together and hopefully made it a little bit better towards the research of MND,” he said.
The Dubbo team - comprising members of both Fire & Rescue NSW and the NSW Rural Fire Service, assembled early on Saturday morning.
The climb involved wearing a full kit of protection gear weighing 20 kilos.
First-timer Mr Bacon’s approach was not to hurry in the start so that he could conserve energy.
I tried to stay at a consistent speed... but I tell you what those last 20 storeys, it was the longest five minutes of my life.Firefighter Joe Bacon
“I tried to stay at a consistent speed so I wasn’t slowing down and getting faster,” he said.
“But I tell you what those last 20 storeys, it was the longest five minutes of my life.”
The retained firefighter with the Delroy station credited the support from the crowd at the top as spurring him on through the pain.
“I think I was 10 flights down thinking I don’t think it’s ever going to end, how far away am I, and I could hear the crowd cheering at the top of the tower, and I sucked it up and soldiered on,” he said.
The team was “over the moon” at the generosity of the Dubbo community.
Probably what got me through the climb the most was the cheering at the top. I think I was 10 flights down thinking I don’t think it’s ever going to end... and I could hear the crowd cheering at the top of the tower, and I sucked it up and soldiered on.Firefighter Joe Bacon
“I’ve still got a couple donations coming in today,” Mr Bacon said.
“We’re really happy with the outcome and we’re going to be getting ready to do it all again next year.”