COVID-19 can't stop me climbing

Ben is climbing the equivalent of 100 mountains at home over the next year. Starting in Portugal and ending with Mount Everest, he isn’t letting COVID-19 stop him from climbing!

This is my third successive charity challenge, I have already completed 12 peaks around the UK, and the worlds 100 tallest buildings, all virtually. Now I will be setting off on my biggest challenge so far. To ‘virtually’ climb the 100 tallest mountains in 100 different countries. This will take me over a year!

Giving back to those that helped me

I started with Montanha do Pico in Portugal on the 1st of August 2020 and will end with Mount Everest sometime in the next year! I have several health conditions that make this a real challenge for me, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), a spinal injury that ended my RAF career, and complex PTSD (from a life of struggle, near death events and even being held hostage in an armed robbery!).

This combination means that now I do struggle a bit. But I will not let this hold me back. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic my doctors have warned me that due to my lung condition, I will need to be careful until I can get the vaccine. I have just finished my Masters in Building Surveying but haven’t even been able to take up my new position due to the virus.

So, I have taken this as an opportunity to dedicate part of my life to the charities that have helped and supported me directly and do amazing work for others. As a RAF veteran, I was inspired by Captain Tom Moore’s 100 laps, the recent 100th anniversary of the RAF and next year’s 100th anniversary of The Royal British Legion. That’s what led me to start this challenge: my desire to give back to the amazing charities that support veterans and serve people with lung conditions.

Steps, steps and more steps!

I might not have access to the real thing, but I do have a 7-step flight of stairs (my virtual route up the mountains), a good imagination, a stubborn attitude, and an important goal to aim for. With my trusty walking poles, indoor slip-on shoes, tracking watch and trusty mechanical tally counter I’ll be tracking my progress against the total.

This isn’t going to be easy, and I can’t run up them like I used to. I’ll need to have days off and I must come down backwards to protect my back. I will be live streaming all the climbing sessions, with a ‘Wall of Fame’ for sponsors, aiming to be climbing for 3 days on 1 day off while remaining flexible to the pattern of climbing, and pacing myself with set targets of flights per day.

I’m also growing a beard and growing my hair out this year. At the end of the climb my aim is to shave both off, and raise more money by doing so. But also donate the hair to a charity that makes wigs for cancer patients.

There will be regular updates on social media and a variety of special events and monthly themes throughout the year to keep it interesting and keep me sane! Once I’ve finished I’ll have walked 1,337,346 feet and climbed 2,292,593 stairs. I hope to raise not just money for the charities but also awareness of what these charities do.

Help Ben reach his fundraising goals!

Donate here!

 

You can also keep up to date with his progress here:

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7 December 2020