Boat Harbour woman in Firefighters Climb for Motor Neurone Disease

FIREFIGHTER Samantha Paul is no stranger to physical challenges given the nature of her career.

The Boat Harbour native is on the cusp of becoming a senior firefighter in Sydney – a formidable and unpredictable beast at the best of times – so she’s ready for almost everything.

But then there’s the Firefighters Climb for Motor Neurone Disease on October 23.

Ninety-eight floors, 1504 stairs and 20 kilos in kit… it poses the question; can she do it?

“I’m an active person already, I do exercise quite a bit and I love surfing,” she said.   

“But I’ve actually started to go to the gym more, running some stairs and wearing a weight vest in preparation.”

Fellow firefighter Matthew Pridham started the event when his best friend was diagnosed with motor neurone disease 18 months ago.

‘Pauly’, as she’s known within Fire and Rescue, said she could readily sympathise.

“One of my cousins had multiple sclerosis so I can relate to that feeling of helplessness… someone going downhill so fast,” she said.

Partnering with Macquarie University the firefighters hope to raise $500,000 scaling Sydney Tower Eye, which used to be known as Centre Point. As of Friday they were already half way to that monetary goal.

‘Pauly’ hopes to raise $1500 and she’s not quite a third of the way there.

Ever competitive, she’s set herself another goal, to do it in under 20 mintues. 

“Last year the winner did it in 11 minutes and second place was only four seconds behind,” she said.

“I’m very excited – I love a challenge.”

Professor Dominic Rowe of Macquarie University’s MND Research Clinic said that finding a cure for MND takes money. Last year’s event raised $180,000.

“We have two new clinical trials beginning this year. This is the first time we have had two trials in one year ever in Motor Neurone disease. We can do this because of our fundraising from last year,” he said.

MND patient and the inspiration behind the event, Adam Regal, said he was overwhelmed and deeply honoured by the event.

“Other MND sufferers and I firmly believe that what the firies are doing is a game changer – we are all hopeful for a breakthrough soon,” he said.


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