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06 October 2021
Horsham Country Fire Authority member Michael Ziersch has been getting his steps up throughout September to help raise money for mental-health services.
Mr Ziersch is a regular participant in the annual Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb, which has been revamped for 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Normally we’d climb the stairwell of the Crown Metropol in Melbourne, part of the Crown complex,” Mr Ziersch said.
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“It’s about 526 steps, I believe, of the actual stairs that we climb, and 28 storeys.”
Usually, about 600 firefighters and other emergency service personnel would have donned 25 kilograms of turn-out gear and breathing apparatus to ‘step up to fight depression, PTSI and suicide’.
This year’s ‘virtual’ event involves participants collectively climbing ‘one-million steps for mental health’.
Each participant is asked to climb at least 3046 steps in honour of the 3046 Australian lives lost to suicide each year. The stair climb, now in its eighth year, aims to raise $500,000 for vital services, including Lifeline, Fortem and 000 Foundation.
The money is used to improve support services, fund research, remove stigmas and raise awareness of mental-health issues such as depression, post-traumatic stress injury and suicide, especially for people within emergency service and defence communities.
“Any money that we donate, 100 percent of it goes towards those charities,” Mr Ziersch said.
“Our target was more than one-million steps for the challenge. At this time, I think we’re over three-million steps and $130,000 has been raised so far.”
Mr Ziersch has walked more than 3880 steps and raised $170 of his $500 fundraising goal. He said people could donate online at https://www.firefighterclimb.org.au/climber/michaelziersch/ or on the CFA Horsham page, https://www.firefighterclimb.org.au/station/cfa/horsham/.
– Sarah Matthews
The entire October 6, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!