Firefighter climbs for motor neuron disease

It may be Jacson Kluts, Grey Lynn firefighter, in serious training for the 'Firefighters Climb for Motor Neuron Disease', up the formidable Sydney Tower Eye on 20 October.

You would not have seen the hours he also puts in on a rowing machine.

I met this impressive young man at the new Grey Lynn Fire Station in Williamson Avenue and he told me about the challenge. It won’t be Jacson’s first attempt. He climbed in last year’s challenge and finished a very creditable third out of 600 climbers. He wants to better this years win maybe.

It is tragically ironic that the charity that benefits from the firefighters’ climb is motor neuron disease, because Jacson’s dad died earlier this year of this motor neuron beast. There is no cure. Jacson’s dad dropped his car keys one day, realised he had a coordination failure, and died just 18 months later, the last six months bedridden. He was only 62.

Jacson Kluts has learned very early about life and death, struggle and sacrifice. He is mature beyond his years.

Jacson is a personable, positive young man, married to Dominique, with three young daughters under five - Lilia, Addison and five-week -old India. All five will go to Sydney so his family can cheer him on. Four year old Lilia is already saying "come on Daddy you can do it."

The stair climb up the Auckland Sky Tower is well known in Auckland. Jacson has done that climb nine times, winning the corporate climb in 2017.

Winning in Sydney would be a fitting end to the first 10 years of Jacson’s life as a firefighter, but Jacson is only too aware how hard the challenge will be.

These climbing challenges are a great way to progress the physical requirements of a fit and proficient firefighter, says Jacson. "It’s about family and community, and is very rewarding," he adds.

These climbs are made a lot harder because climbers have to be fully kitted out with fire gear, 20kg of it!

Last year Jacson took 11 minutes 45 seconds to climb the Sydney Tower. He is hoping to break 11 minutes this year.

Wherever he finishes on 20 October, Jacson Kluts will be a fine ambassador for his station and for New Zealand. He will always be a hero to the four females in his house, even if little India wonders what on earth is motivating her dad to run up and down hills pushing her pram. She’ll grow up rightly proud of her dad.

We at Ponsonby News wish Jacson well.

At a time when the young are often criticised as lazy and non-engaged, Jacson is a great example of a motivated young man in a worthwhile profession, promoting it to his community, strongly supported by a loving family. His late father Jac would be proud of him.

Win, lose or draw, Jacson Kluts is a winner in our eyes even before he steps up to the line on the first of those 98 storeys in Sydney. (JOHN ELLIOTT)

For info on the climb check it out and DONATE.