Two Ray White heroes have raised thousands of dollars for a very worthy cause, by facing a gruelling vertical climb challenge of more than 1,000 steps.
It’s hard to imagine a greater change of lifestyle than that enjoyed by Todd Weeks. A former Australian lifesaver he was an expert at spotting people in danger bobbing about in the waves before his move to New Zealand in 2016.
He came on a skiing holiday, “and we just stayed! With my wife and my son, we moved here and never looked back,” says Todd from his Arrowtown office.
In keeping with his former life in Australia, Todd was keen to become involved in his new community and immediately joined the Arrowtown Volunteer Firebrigade. From saving people from rips and bad waves to saving people in fires. Todd’s move was a contrast in lifestyles, but a very rewarding on every front.
Being located in the centre of town now means he is a rapid responder and has attended 126 calls in the year to date.
“Overall it works out that there is a callout for the Arrowtown Brigade once every 1.5 days,” says Todd.
Over in Mission Bay, Auckland, Wayne Maguire, who is not a firefighter, donned all the gear as part of Sky Tower Challenge’s “Squad 20”.
“There are 20 civilians only invited to participate,” says Wayne. A keen supporter of many charities, Wayne loaded on all the gear and experienced what the real fireys put up with.
“It’s really hot,” says Wayne. “In fact, while we were waiting to start an actual firefighter came by and told us to take off our helmets and unzip, because we were sure to overheat, even just standing there waiting to start.”
Wayne was well supported by all of his agency staff who assisted on the day with an onsite raffle – another great way to top up the coffers.
But the main event was the great climb which took place on May 18, 2019.
The Firefighter stair challenge is a 1,103 step (or 51 flights) climb up the Sky Tower in Auckland, the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere. The challenge attracts firefighters with big hearts and strong legs from across the globe.
“There were firefighters from as far away as New York City, and Australia taking part this year,” said Todd.
The fundraising event raises much-needed capital for the Leukemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand, a national charity, which has raised over $1M since its inception three years ago.
Fully kitted out with 25kg of safety gear, Todd managed the climb in 18 minutes, Wayne managed an even more amazing time of just 12 minutes 54 seconds.
“You get halfway through and think ‘I’m not going to make it’, but you keep going,” recalls Todd who said the feeling of accomplishment, for both him personally and the charity beneficiaries, makes it all worthwhile.
The organisers aim to raise $2,500 per firefighter, but the Ray White guys exceeded expectations, with Todd bringing in $5,000 and Wayne (including his auction proceeds) a remarkable $13,780.
Combined, all the teams managed to raise a sensational $1.3M for Leukemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand.
Will they be there again in 2020?
“Absolutely,” says Todd
“100 per cent!” says Wayne.