Luke Summerscales and Ryan Brindley from Wonga Park Fire Brigade
Wonga Park CFA volunteers Luke Summerscales and Ryan Brindley are celebrating International Day of Friendship today (30 July), due to the bonds they’ve made at their brigades over time.
This year they will both also be participating in the Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb to fight depression, PTSI and suicide.
The 9th Annual Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb is on September 10 this year where firefighters and other Emergency Personnel will climb 28 floors at Crown Metropol Hotel wearing 25kgs of turnout gear and breathing apparatus.
Luke is a 2nd Lieutenant Training Officer and Ryan has been a CFA member for over ten years. They first met in 2016 as Wonga Park members and they quickly became best mates.
Luke said his first stair climb was the Eureka Stair Climb in 2013 and he’s also completed the Auckland Sky Tower Challenge.
“I started participating in the stair climbs as they supported some charities that hit home with me. When I was younger, I suffered with depression and have since lost many friends to suicide,” said Luke.
Luke and Ryan started participating in the Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb in 2017 together and have continued this tradition every year.
“My reason for participating is that depression and suicide are sometimes a taboo topic and I think the more awareness and support these charities get will inevitably save lives,” Luke said.
“The stair climbs are a great way for Ryan and I to compete against each other, and Ryan getting to boast how much fitter he is than me, whilst also helping these amazing charities.”
Ryan joined CFA as a junior at Lilydale when he was 12 where he spent four years, and when he became qualified at 16, he transferred to Wonga Park.
“I wanted to join CFA to make lifelong friendships with people such as Luke, to be able to work in an environment which is like your second family and know that you can rely on others in the brigade,” Ryan said.
When Ryan first heard about the Stair Climb, he thought it would be a great challenge to set himself as it was to support mental health.
“I’ve always had a strong passion for mental health and looking out for those around you no matter who they are,” Ryan said.
“When I first met Luke, he had told me about an old friend of his who sadly passed due to suicide and what it was like to deal with which was eye opening.
“This year I’ll be climbing with a particular person in mind as recently I lost a mate to suicide which hit me a lot harder than I thought. It was a tough time for me, but with the support of family and friends including Luke, I got through it.
“What keeps me going the most while climbing, is the fact that we are all doing this for such an amazing cause and knowing that we are potentially saving many lives with the money that we raise from the stair climb.”
For more information of the Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb, please visit: www.firefighterclimb.org.au
If you or someone you know needs support, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636
CFA Wellbeing Support Line: 1800 959 232