Three members of the Whanganui Rural Fire Force have packed their bags for Auckland, where they will be climbing the tallest building in the southern hemisphere for a worthy cause.
Team captain Aaron Whitford will be joined by teammates Simon Dibben and Francis Flis and over 1000 other firefighters participating in the annual firefighters Sky Tower Stair Challenge, the flagship fundraiser for Leukemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand.
Whilst Whitford has plenty of experience doing the challenge, with this being his ninth ascent of the Sky Tower, he said it doesn't get any easier.
"Being a solo parent and all the fundraising, it has been hard to keep up with the training," he said.
"Even though it is a physically and mentally demanding challenge, it is less of a challenge than those who are currently battling a blood-type cancer."
Whanganui Volunteer Rural Fire Force has raised over $4500 so far, and are hoping to get close to $6000 by the end of the weekend.
Firefighters have raised over $1.1 million across the country.
In his first attempt at the Sky Tower Stair Challenge last November, Dibben finished third in the rural section and third in the male open category.
He is challenging himself a little more this time, joining teammate Whitford in the Donned Section, wearing structural firefighting kit with breathing apparatus weighing around 25kg.
"I was doing the rural category last time, but I wanted to try something different. I haven't done as much training as I would have liked but it is what it is."
Flis, Whanganui SPCA centre manager, is competing in her first ever Sky Tower Stair Challenge.
After two years with the Whanganui Rural Fire Force, Flis expects to be exhausted by the day's end.
"I'll just be happy if I complete the challenge. The aim of it is just raised money for these kids and go through a bit of suffering on the day for it.
"Sixty floors doesn't sound like much, I think when I get to 20 I'll feel it. It's my first time, so this will be a guide for next time."
Firefighter Blair Gray, a big part of the fundraising for the Rural Force, is unable to make the climb due to work commitments.
Whitford said he has done "a hell of a lot" of work leading up to this date.
"He has something else on unfortunately. He has helped fundraise and everything, he just can't make it."