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Everest: Jamie McAnsh To Attempt Climb On Crutches

April 29, 2022

A man who woke up paralysed more than eight years ago is attempting to reach Everest base camp on crutches.

Jamie McAnsh, from Cwmbran, Torfaen, has complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) which causes persistent severe and debilitating pain.

He said it had been his dream to climb Everest since he was a child and his trip, originally planned for 2020, has been twice delayed by Covid.

He will leave on Tuesday with a small team to make the ascent.

Jamie told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast he went to bed “as normal” on 6 January 2014, but woke up the next morning paralysed from the waist down after rupturing his spine in his sleep.

It took another 13 months for Jamie to be diagnosed with CRPS, which has no cure but often gradually improves over time.

Jamie said he was in a “dark place” after his diagnosis, but has been “very lucky” with the support around him to enable to him to take on the challenge of reaching Everest base camp, which is at an altitude of 5,364m (17,600ft).

He said: “Everest has been a dream since I was seven years old. I often say it was shattered in 2014 when I woke up paralysed and I remember thinking to myself ‘why didn’t I do it earlier, why did I not just go and do it’.

“When I was going through physio they said I needed a goal, I needed something to work towards and I said ‘well I’ve got a goal, I want to climb Everest’ and I remember my physio saying ‘Jamie, I tell you what, let’s get you standing first’.”

Jamie said he wanted to use to climb to raise awareness about CRPS.

“If you catch it early enough you can actually turn it around, you can revert it,” he said.

“But unfortunately it is so misunderstood that a lot of people go past the diagnosis stage before anyone notices or understands what they’ve got, so they’ve got to pass that gate, that window if you like.”

Jamie’s trip was originally scheduled for May 2020, but was postponed by the first Covid lockdown. A second attempt in 2021 was foiled at the last minute when Nepal was moved to the red list.

Jamie estimates it will take about 10 days to reach base camp with his specially adapted crutches, with another four days to come back down.

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