Man who woke up paralysed fulfils lifelong Everest dream
A WELSHMAN who went to bed and woke up paralysed from the waist down has become one of a few disabled adventurers to climb Mount Everest on crutches.
Jamie McAnsh, who turned 41 during the challenge, has spoken of his ‘immense sense of pride and emotion’ after achieving his childhood dream of reaching Mount Everest’s Base Camp in Nepal.
Mr McAnsh, of Cwmbran in Torfaen, along with his wife Charlott,49, and their team, completed the gruelling 132 kilometre trek to Base Camp South reaching an altitude of 5,364 metres, over 11 days.
The former Royal Engineer has Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) -an uncommon neurological condition, which causes persistent severe and debilitating pain and relied on specialist crutches to complete the trek.
Speaking from Nepal, he told Sudol Media, that he experienced tough times, both physically and mentally, when the pain from spasms in his legs and arm were excruciating. He said the low-levels of oxygen at high altitude also took its toll on his body.
“The trek was a challenge from day one,” he said.
“It was tough dealing with the altitude, lack of oxygen and having to focus on where to put my crutches, as well as having CRPS.”
Mr McAnsh said he felt overwhelmed after reaching Base Camp South after eight days of walking.
“It didn’t really hit me that we had done it until the day after,” he said.
“I can remember feeling overwhelmed and an immense sense of pride and emotion that I achieved a lifelong dream.”
“I feel proud of myself and the fact that I could have given up on myself during the early days after my diagnosis but didn’t.”
“The walk down was just as challenging, when you factor in exhaustion and walking up to 14 hours a day,” he added.
He is now believed to be the first CRPS sufferer with lower body impairment in both legs to have reached Everest Base Camp.
Mr McAnsh paid tribute to his ‘amazing wife’ Charlott, teammates Nikola (CORR) Masters who owns Osbourne Lodge Nursery, Tim Cochram , Andy Ibbott, their guides and supporters for helping him to achieve his dream.
Thanking his supporters he said: “Thank you for every comment, message and well wishes I have received over the past two weeks. It has literally got me to the top. You have all been with me every step of the way.”
The former Royal Engineer and his team, who had their plans cancelled twice during the Covid-19 pandemic, had his sights set on the challenge since he was seven years-old but an uncommon neurological condition eight years ago, followed by a cancer diagnosis, threatened to end his dream.
In January 2014, following a bout of shingles, his life was suddenly turned upside down when Mr McAnsh went to bed and woke up paralysed from the waist down. Doctors were initially stumped as to the cause of the horrendous pain in his back, but after a number of tests he was eventually diagnosed with an uncommon neurological condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
The debilitating condition is characterised by constant and often severe pain and can be triggered by an injury or virus. The former climber, runner and motorbike enthusiast, embarked on a long and gruelling recovery which has seen him gain some mobility.
However, he still uses a wheelchair and relies on specialist crutches to help him walk.
The motivational speaker, entrepreneur and CRPS awareness campaigner has since found relief in sport and the outdoors, having completed 12 extreme challenges raising £250,000 for charity. As part of the challenges he climbed Pen Y Fan -South Wales’ highest peak but had to use his hands when his wheelchair buckled around 100 feet short of the summit.
The multi-award winner, whose motto is ‘always get back up’, hopes to inspire others to adopt a more positive approach to disability through mentoring and the launch of his online business community See No Bounds.
The couple have set up a fundraising page supporting Newport and Usk Vale Lion. To find out more visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/from-wheels-to-everest
Pictures © Jamie McAnsh