Topic: Health

Hero welcomed home after 1800km and $16K raised for Leukemia & Blood Cancer NZ

By Leah Te Whata
  • Auckland

900 firefighters have raised more than 1.2 million dollars for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand at this year's Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge. Among the participants is Maaka Mckinney, a PTSD survivor who began his stair challenge 1800 kilometers away.

Firefighter, Maaka McKinney says, "Shattered, yeah I'm glad it's over I'm proud of what I've done with regards to the kaupapa of my hikoi  which was to, first of all, raise financial support for leukemia blood cancer New Zealand but also to raise awareness about PTSD and depression amongst police officers, firefighters, and ambulance officers."

A teary-eyed mother and father watched on as their son completed a journey of a lifetime.

Father, John McKinney says, "The fantastic thing about it was New Zealand got behind him with signage and kai it's really fantastic to see the nation get behind our son and yeah we're proud, he got here."

Mother, Kararaina McKinney says, "I'm so happy and proud of what Maaka has done, it's amazing. It's also really great seeing all the support he's received, just awesome."

A collective $1.2 million has been raised by firefighters in this year's stair challenge and Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand are delighted.

CEO, Leukaemia & Blood Cancer NZ, Pru Etcheverry says, "I just want to say a massive thank you to everybody who's taken part and put their bodies on the line but also all the people around them that supported them and fund raised for them we're truly and desperately appreciative."

Maaka says has a date with a large pizza before he makes his way home for a well-deserved rest.