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Shepparton climbs for Zaidee
Shepparton Fire Brigade is no stranger to the city’s Telstra Tower.
Its stairs are a regular stomping ground for brigade training. But late last month the climb took on special meaning as Shepparton’s B Shift donned full structural turnout gear and breathing apparatus to complete Zaidee’s Tower Run.
The Run is an annual event to support Shepparton-based Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation, which champions organ and tissue donation.
While it was the first Tower Run for the brigade, Zaidee’s story is particularly personal to Senior Station Officer Leigh Allan. Leigh’s children went to Orrvale Primary School east of Shepparton, the same school Zaidee Turner attended until her sudden death at age seven from a cerebral aneurism.
“The rainbow memorial to Zaidee is up at the school. Rainbows were one of Zaidee’s favourite things,” says Leigh.
Zaidee’s parents Kim and Allan Turner established the foundation that bears Zaidee’s name in the aftermath of her death in 2004. At that time, the Turner family, including Zaidee, was a registered organ and tissue donor. As a result, Zaidee donated her organs and tissues at the Royal Children’s Hospital as was her wish. From this gift, the lives of six children and one adult were improved and, in some cases, saved.
Zaidee was the only child in Victoria under the age of 16 and one of the youngest Australians to donate her organs and tissues in 2004. Indeed, she was one of only six children nationally to donate their organs that year.
The brigade’s presence was a real boost for the Tower Run, says Allan. “Having CFA there created a lot of awareness and a great flavour to the event. Just seeing how fit these guys are carting 20 kilograms of gear – it impressed everyone.
“They did the run in two minutes and 18 seconds which is a great time. They then asked if they could do it again and ran two minutes and 30 seconds. For them to come out on a working day with the truck parked and back-up crew in case they got a call out – it was really appreciated.”
For Leigh Allan, there’s not much time for a break.
“Next up is Royal Children’s Good Friday Appeal. We’ve been out the day before knocking on doors for the last five years and we are going to do the Run again. The goal is to get more emergency services people in the Run next year.
“I like community. We don’t just do fires. It’s all important to put your hat in the ring.”
For more information, go to Zaidee's Rainbow Foundation.