Shepparton East volunteer Emily Marsland is not only participating in this year’s virtual Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb for her son, she’s climbing with him.
Every morning, Emily and 8-year-old Brian have been trekking up and down the stairs over a levy separating the Goulburn River and one of their local sports grounds.
“This is my 4th firefighter stair climb,” said Emily. “I’m taking part because I’ve been in the mental health system, and understand just how under-resourced it is.
“I was given fantastic care after suffering post-natal depression with my now 8-year-old son, and I’ll do anything I can do to give back.
For the first time in its seven-year history, the annual Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb isn’t being held at the Crown Metropol, with participants instead being challenged to collectively accumulate steps over a month-long period.
This year’s stair climb event, named One Million Steps for Mental Health, kicked off on “R U OK” day (10 September), and will run through to World Mental Health day on 10 October.
For Emily, the virtual has brought some positivity to a challenging year.
“The adrenalin and sense of camaraderie isn’t there as much, but by spreading the event out over a month, it’s given me a good reason to get back out into nature and I find my mental health improves more when I’m exercising outside.”
More than $2.4 million has been raised for a variety of charities since the first stair climb in 2014, with funds raised from this year’s event going towards Lifeline, the Black Dog Institute and the 000 Foundation.
Participants are encouraged to share their workout progress on social media, by tagging #MFSCMillionSteps on their pictures and videos.
Registrations are already open at https://www.firefighterclimb.o… and will remain open throughout the month-long event.