Firefighters, police officers, nurses and students — to name a few — shed some sweat and tears for this year’s First Responders Cup, hosted by Fleming College.
The event is aimed at not only getting students prepared for real life tasks, but to raise money for a local charity: the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Registration fees and fundraising efforts go directly to support mental health initiatives by the Peterborough CMHA.
“To me, this is a testament of a community that values mental health and wellness,” said Jack Veitch, manager of community engagement education at CMHA.
It’s Peterborough firefighter Joe Mullen’s first time sweating it out at the competition. He says it mimics the strenuous work he does on the job.
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“So, like EMS, you have to lift the backboards and lift heavy patients off the floor out of their bed,” Mullen said. “As soon as we put our bunker gear on, we weigh 50 pounds more. Then we have to take extinguishers, hoses, whatever we need into the building.
“So, 80 or 100 pounds more, going up and down stairs, police having to detain possible subjects — all these things are strenuous.”
The First Responders Cup originally started as a small college event three years ago. Now, the event has now transformed into an eight-hour community fitness challenge. About 140 participants and 22 groups go head-to-head in eight activities over eight hours.
Veitch says the CMHA partners with local first responders regularly to not only train them on how to support a person in distress, but how to take care of their own health and wellness.
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“If you’re going to get into one of these careers, being it will only help prolong your career and keep you out of the accident realm, you don’t want to hurt yourself,” Mullen said.
Organizers say this year’s fundraising total is a huge success, as they have almost doubled last year’s donation.
“These teams have fundraised their butts off, and at this point, right now — and people are still giving money today — but we’re almost at $14,000,” said Jodi Stevens, organizer and fitness and wellness professor at Fleming College.