Illawarra firefighters sublime fundraiser to fight motor neurone disease

Climbing for a cause: Rachel Hessenberger, James Austin  and Adrian Panozzo show Alex Marlos the gear they train in at Sublime Point. Picture: Greg Ellis.

Climbing for a cause: Rachel Hessenberger, James Austin and Adrian Panozzo show Alex Marlos the gear they train in at Sublime Point. Picture: Greg Ellis.

Firefighters from around the Illawarra are organising a fundraiser for Motor Neurone Disease at Sublime Point Restaurant on October 21. And they have received generous support from restauranter Alex Marlos.

Climbing for a cause: Rachel Hessenberger, of Fire & Rescue NSW, and James Austin, of the Rural Fire Service, Alex Marlos, of Sublime Point Restaurant and Adrian Panozzo of Fire & Rescue NSW. Picture: Greg Ellis.

Climbing for a cause: Rachel Hessenberger, of Fire & Rescue NSW, and James Austin, of the Rural Fire Service, Alex Marlos, of Sublime Point Restaurant and Adrian Panozzo of Fire & Rescue NSW. Picture: Greg Ellis.

It is part of an extraordinary effort and response to the Firefighters Climb for Motor Neurone Disease. In 2015 160 firefighters raised $180,000 for research at the Macquarie University Motor Neurone Research Centre by climbing the 1504 stairs at Sydney Tower Eye. When the call went out for firefighters to do it again in 2016 a large contingent form the Illawarra signed on to be among 445 to take on the steps on October 23.

But first the Illawarra firefighters plan to raise even more than the sponsorship they have already received by holding a benefit night at Sublime Point Restaurant.

The 2016 total has already exceeded $280,000 thanks to the efforts of firefighters such as Adrian Panozzo and Rachel Hessenberger, of Fire & Rescue NSW, and James Austin, of the Rural Fire Service. All three have been training by climbing the Sublime Point track wearing 20 kilograms of thick fire gear.

Retained firefighter Mr Panozzo said there was a local connection to the origin of the Firefighters Climb for Motor Neurone Disease.

It was started by Matt Pridham after his friend Adam Regal, of Flinders, was diagnosed with MND.

Mr Regal and Mr Pridham are both keen for money raised to go towards research. They and all firefighters involved want to help others with MND and their families.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop