SEVEN Kyabram firefighters will tackle 28 flights of stairs next month in the fight against mental illness.
Peter Ferguson, Wayne Peterson and Matthew Ford will take on the 476 stairs for their respective third, fourth and second time, racing up the Crown Metropol Hotel as part of the Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb on September 7.
And four brave new faces — Ash Corrin, Logan Bamford-Phillis, Gary Espagne and Brooke Giddings — will attempt the feat for the first time.Wearing 25kg of turnout gear and breathing apparatus, the volunteers will join 500 fellow firefighters in the event, which aims to raise $700,000 for Lifeline and the Black Dog Institute to improve support services, fund research, remove stigmas and raise awareness of depression, PTSI and suicide.Last year the Kyabram Fire Brigade group raised $7212, and this year they're hoping to beat that for a total of $10,000.
"So many suffer with mental health issues and everyone is guaranteed to know someone who has been affected it by it," Peter Ferguson said.
For newbie Ash, the intensive training three or four days a week for the past month has him feeling confident — sort of.
"It's the second half that I'm nervous about,' he said.
Luckily, Stair Climb veteran Wayne had a pearl of wisdom for the newcomer.
"Just don't stop," he said.
Peter is hoping to beat or match his time of five minutes and two seconds last year.
"If I can beat it that'd be great, but it's really all about getting to the top and raising some money for a great cause," he said.
On Saturday, August 24 the Stair Climb team will be holding a sausage sizzle out the front of the Main Street Butchery to raise money.
And a trivia night and auction on August 30 at the Blue Brick Hotel will also act as a fundraiser.
Tickets are $10 and all proceeds will go to Lifeline and the Black Dog Institute.
Kyabram P-12 College has also got on board and will be running a school barbecue to raise some cash.
"We're calling on the community to get behind this great cause," Peter said.
“We’d like to especially thank Baker’s Delight and the Main Street Butchery for their generosity and donations."
You can donate in tins found at Autopro, Baker's Delight, Main Street Butchery, Shell, BP, Subway and Ky Lucky Lotto.
To donate online, go to firefighterclimb.org.au/station/cfa/kyabram.