Whanganui firefighter Jay Rickard is combining her career skills with her love of music and fitness to raise money for a cause close to her heart.
Rickard is taking part in the Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge on May 18 to raise funds and awareness for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand (LBC). The annual challenge involves firefighters, wearing up to 25kg of kit, climbing 51 flights of stairs in Auckland's 328 metre tall Sky Tower.
Rickard has done the challenge once before but this year it has special significance for the lead singer of local band Rock Heart Cult.
"Our drummer Sara has been supporting her partner Mark who has been having treatment for leukaemia," Rickard said.
"I decided to put the call out to my music friends to lend me their time and talents for a really good cause."
Her friends responded and the result is a fundraising concert to be held at Lucky Bar + Kitchen on April 20, featuring DRXNES, Metropolis, 440, Wildcard, Dave Muso and Cassette Club. Genres range from acoustic to reggae, rock and heavy metal.
"It's amazing that all the musos are coming together to support such a great cause," Rickard said.
"Georgie and Matt, of Lucky, have kindly donated the venue."
Participants in the challenge have a target to raise $1000 each.
"I also have personal goal to beat my time from last time when I was four years younger and full of hope," Rickard said.
In 2015 Rickard walked the Sky Tower challenge in 19 minutes, 10 seconds. She was a volunteer firefighter back then, working for rural fire and fire operations, and became a career firefighter in 2016.
The part-time fitness instructor is doing crossfit and running the bridges circuit and the Durie Hill steps "which I super-hate" for training.
"The steps are quite steep - the actual stairs in the tower are a more gradual incline," she said.