Tauranga mum Jazmin Lashlie only began volunteering as a firefighter last year, but she’s already taking on one of the toughest challenges any firefighter can face.
That’s the Sky Tower Stair Challenge in Auckland - an annual fundraising event in which nearly 1000 firefighters will race up 51 flights of stairs in full kit.
Greerton Volunteer Fire Brigade has seven members participating in this year’s challenge, with Jazmin among them.
The 27-year-old grew up in Hamilton, before moving to Tauranga and starting a family a few years ago. She’s been a stay-at-home mum to three-year-old Noah since he was born, but wanted to give back to her community.
“My mum was in the air force before I was born, and it was something I’d always admired about her,” says Jazmin.
“I’d always dreamed of joining a service and helping people, but the more I grew up, for some reason the more unrealistic that seemed.”
However, after hearing about a friend who joined the Pukehina Volunteer Fire Brigade, Jazmin made a move of her own, coming down to her nearest station in Greerton to watch the volunteers training on a Tuesday night.
“I came the first week and I loved it,” she says. “I’ve been here ever since. It can be physically demanding but that’s something I love about it - always challenging you to be at your best. We have an amazing group of people here at the Greerton station.”
This year will be her first time taking on the Sky Tower Stair Challenge, which will help raise funds for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand.
“It is a huge physical and mental challenge for me, and one that I’m training hard for,” she adds. “I’ve even hired a treadmill for use at home so that the weather is no excuse!”
She says she’s nervous about the challenge, but when she thinks of what so many New Zealanders with leukemia or blood cancer and their families have to go through, the challenge of one day seems ‘insignificant’.
“That is what will keep me going. In the end, it doesn’t matter how long it takes me, I will get it done.”
The Sky Tower Stair Challenge will take place on Saturday May 19. For more information or to donate, visit: firefightersclimb.org.nz