Stair-climb challenge tackles domestic violence

ATHENA ZELANDONII

More than 500 people took to the stairs of the iconic ONE ONE ONE Eagle Street building in Brisbane’s CBD on Friday for the River to Rooftop event, in support of Women’s Legal Service Queensland (WLSQ).

Starting line of River to Rooftop at Brisbane’s ONE ONE ONE Eagle Street

The River to Rooftop stair climb starts on the ground level of Brisbane’s ONE ONE ONE Eagle Street, ascending 1040 stairs and 55 levels to the top. Photo: Athena Zelandonii

 

WLSQ’s services assist women and their children around Queensland, with half of their clients living in regional or remote areas.

Proceeds from River to Rooftop will go towards helping WSLQ provide free legal and social work help, as well as a legal aid helpline, for women experiencing domestic violence and other family law matters.

The WLSQ stair-climb, which is in its second year, requires participants to commit to fundraising a minimum of $200 prior to taking part in the 1040 step, 55 level vertical climbing event.

Prizes were awarded for the fastest individual and team times, the best fancy dress costume, and the greatest individual and team fundraising efforts.

This year’s fastest finishers make the mammoth climb in under seven minutes.

Brisbane City Council member for Tennyson, Nicole Johnston, was on hand to present participants with a finisher’s medal at the finish line on the top floor of ONE ONE ONE Eagle Street.

Brisbane City Council member for Tennyson Nicole Johnston presents medals at River to Rooftop 2019

BCC member for Tennyson, Nicole Johnston (left), presented River to Rooftop finishers’ medals on the top floor of ONE ONE ONE Eagle Street. Photo: Athena Zelandonii

 

WLSQ fundraising manager Natalie Davidson said twice as many people took part in this year’s event compared with last year, also doubling the amount raised to $117,000.

“Our target was ambitious at $100,000, but thanks to our corporate supporters and the community, we’ve blitzed it,” Ms Davidson said.

“That will make a huge difference to our work with women and their kids experiencing domestic violence,” she said.

WLSQ CEO Angela Lynch said funding limitations meant 40 per cent of calls currently went unanswered due to staff shortages.

“Women seek our assistance because they want us to represent them, but we just have not got [the] capacity to legally represent the numbers of women who are domestic violence victims who come forward to us,” Ms Lynch said.

“About a third of our income comes from independent sources, including fundraising, and it means we can employ more solicitors and more helpline workers who are answering calls,” she said.

Gold Coast resident Kristina Kesaris was inspired to take part in the River to Rooftop event alongside her mother, who is a family lawyer and a WLSQ hotline volunteer.

River to Rooftop stair-climb participant and 2019 fancy dress winner Kristina Kesaris

River to Rooftop entrant and fancy dress winner Kristina Kesaris has her face painted before tackling the climb in support of WLSQ. Photo: Athena Zelandonii

 

“Seeing mum’s work has kind of brought a new awareness to the things I thought were happening far away, but could actually be very close,” Ms Kesaris said.

“It just kind of brings a whole new perspective upon it when someone you know has been dealing with those kind of things,” she said.

After the success of the 2019 event, the countdown is on for 2020 event, which Ms Davidson said WLSQ hoped would be even bigger and more successful.

“Let’s aim high, we’re buoyed by all of this support and spirit so go hard or go home,” she said.

Donations to WLSQ can be made at any time and are tax deductible.

Visit https://womens-legal-service.giveeasy.org/you-can-help if you would like to help.

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