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Daniel Palmer, left, and Millar Morton will climb the Auckland Sky Tower for charity. Photo: SUPPLIED

Thames firefighters swap study for stairs

Recognising the support given to blood cancer and leukaemia patients sparked Daniel Palmer’s interest to scale a fundraising challenge for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand.
Daniel, along with his Thames High School mate Millar Morton and seven other Thames volunteer firefighters, will ascend 51 flights of stairs carrying 25kg of gear for the Firefighter Sky Tower Challenge on May 20.

Daniel, who has been a volunteer for more than a year, told The Profile he entered the challenge because he recognised the work the organisation does.
“I do know a few people who have been positively affected by the leukaemia and blood cancer organisation, and while they’ve been struggling with blood cancer they’ve helped out a lot with living costs, the treatment, and everything like that as well,” he said.
“It’s a good organisation to be fundraising for, so that was one of the reasons I wanted to do it and another reason was the challenge.
“There’s quite a bit of competitive nature in there as well but it’s mainly because I really believe in the organisation we’re fundraising for, they do a really good thing and they help out the people that they support.”
Daniel, who joined the fire service to find a place in the community after he and his family moved to Thames from Fiji in 2021, said he and Millar had spent every weekday over the past two months training for the challenge.
“We’ve been waking up at 4:30am every morning and we would go to the gym and we’ll do a workout based on muscle building and whether that be for our legs or our core, anything that’s related to the Sky Tower,” he said.
“Then from there we would go to Jacob’s Ladder… we would run that with all of our firefighting equipment including our [breathing apparatus], and masks on just as we would in the Sky Tower Challenge.”
Millar, who has around eight months’ experience as a volunteer firefighter and is also Thames High School head boy, said they had been “really stoked” with the community donations.
“I’ve been really stoked with how the local community has supported Daniel and I, everyone’s been super kind, really willing to donate,” he said.
“Daniel and I have put up posters around town so people have been donating to the QR Code and we also uploaded the poster to the Thames-Coromandel Grapevine [Facebook page] and we received lots of donations through that.
“A lot of family have also been stepping in.”
Millar and Daniel have raised a combined total of nearly $3500 for the charity, and donations will remain open a month after challenge day.
Millar said he and Daniel will be aiming to complete the challenge around the 15-minute mark.
“If I really push myself on the day I would be able to get somewhere between 13 and 16 minutes but 15 minutes is the goal,” he said.
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