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Climbing for a cause

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Local firefighters Gary McNicol and Aliysa Gibbons. Photo: Kate Reid

This weekend, the 301 Mountain Goats from Glenbrook Fire Station will race up 1504 stairs in a bid to raise money for Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

This Saturday, October 14, the Glenbrook firies will participate in the Firefighters Climb for MND at Sydney Tower Eye, climbing to raise money for the Macquarie University MND Research Centre.

Now in its third year, the event was started in honour of Adam Regal, an MND sufferer who became confined to a wheelchair because of the illness.

Mr Regal said he was overwhelmed and deeply honoured when the climb was established.

“Other MND sufferers and I firmly believe that what the firies are doing is a game changer and we are all hopeful for a breakthrough soon,” he said.

“Each day, two Australians die from MND and another two are diagnosed with it.

“90 per cent of patients die within three to five years of first experiencing symptoms.

“The disease currently has no known cause or cure, so research is urgently needed to help find some answers.”

This year firefighters from across the country will line up to take part in the climb, wearing 20kg of turnout fire gear, including a structural jacket and trousers, helmet, suspenders and firefighting boots.

By coordinating the event, Fire & Rescue NSW with Macquarie University has already raised over $1,000,000 for research, and this year firefighters hope to double the amount.

Macquarie University MND Research Clinic Professor, Dominic Rowe, said that finding a cure for MND is just about money.

“We have two new clinical trials that started this year,” he said.

“This is the first time we have had two trials in one year ever for MND.

“We can do this because of our fundraising from last year.”

MND is a progressive disease where the nerve cells controlling the muscles that allow a person to move, speak and breathe degenerate and die.

With no nerves to activate muscles, the muscles gradually weaken and waste away.

To donate to MND research, visit www.firiesclimbformnd.org.au.

To donate to the 301 Mountain Goats from Glenbrook, visit their Facebook page.