AMHERST – Raymond MacDonald of the Amherst Fire Department entered the bucket atop the fire department's ladder truck Thursday at noon and remained there until Saturday at 2 p.m.
Only Mother Nature will force him out of the bucket, whether it’s lightning or the need to use the bathroom, plus his vital statistics are measured on a regular basis during the 50-hour session.
Strong wind conditions mean the ladder isn’t extended to its maximum length, 70-feet, but if wind conditions improve MacDonald will take it to 70 feet.
MacDonald has crossword puzzles and movies to keep him occupied.
Funds raised during the ladder sit go to help children suffering from Muscular Dystrophy.
UPDATE: Saturday, 1:45 pm MacDonald comes down briefly to pick up his wife, Christine before both go back up for the final 15 minutes. Famliy and friends greet them at the bottom as the ladder sets down at 2 p.m. The campaign raised about $13,500.
Saturday, 12 pm With just two hours to go, the campaign is nearing the $13,000 mark. MacDonald comes down after 50 hours at 2 pm.
Saturday, 7:45 a.m. MacDonald said he was going up for his last 6.5 hours. Said weather was perfect and he's looking forward to a good day. Said he slept very good on Friday night, better than the first night.
Friday, 10 p.m. MacDonald was turning in for the night. The fundraising total had surpassed the $11,000 mark.
Friday, 6p.m. The campaign has surpassed $9,500.
Friday, 4 p.m. It's another short touchdown so MacDonald can take a fearless reporter to the top to shoot some video of the view and get an update on how things are going. MacDonald says he's doing fine, catching up on his word searches and watching a few movies. He's thrilled with the support shown by the community. Already more than $7,900 has been raised.
Friday, 12:30 p.m. It's a temporary touchdown, but before MacDonald can have some lunch he's whisked away by a nurse.
During his 50-hour marathon at the top of the ladder truck, a nurse is on hand around the clock and checks MacDonald's vitals whenever he's on terra firma. Heart rate, body temperature, blood-sugar levels and blood pressure are all checked before he's given the green-light to return to the ladder.
UPDATE: Friday, 10 A.M. It's been twelve hours since we checked in with MacDonald, who was hunkering down for the night at approximately 10:30 p.m. last night.
With a good rest behind him and more than 24-hours to go ahead of him, MacDonald says he's ready to face the day.
"Geez, last night was great. I couldn't have asked for a better night," he reported. "I was comfy and well insulared... I woke up once or twice when I was truning over, but it was a good night."
After waking, MacDonald decended to have his vitals checked.
And what did our fearless funraiser have for breakfast?
"A breakfast sandwich and Tim Hortons coffee."
UPDATE: Thursday, 10 p.m.
MacDonald is taking one more break at 10:30 p.m. before he settles in for the night.
“I have a good sleeping bag, one of those mummy bags, which hold up pretty good in the cold.
“I plan on getting all kinds of sleep, depending on how the night goes,” he added.
MacDonald said Thursday night’s sunset was beautiful.
UPDATE: Thursday, 7 P.M.
After seven hours Raymond MacDonald has had supper, is watching his second movie and has enjoyed the view.
"The weather is much better now, the winds dying down and the sun feels decent," said MacDonald. "The ladder is up a lot more now. It’s close to being extended all the way."
MacDonald says nothing too serious has happened in the first seven hours but he's enjoying the view, and he's been watching movies.
"I watched Fast (and Furious) Five and I'm halfway through The Guardian," said MacDonald. "They're oldies but they're not too bad."
He came down for half and hour at 6 p.m.
"I had my supper and had some vitals checked."