Our Everest for the NHS & SPEAR Search & Rescue

by Our Everest in Chelmsford, England, United Kingdom

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raised in 35 days

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Complete an indoor Everest climb to raise money for NHS Charities Together and SPEAR SAR. 98, 332 steps in all!

by Our Everest in Chelmsford, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

Any extra money we raise will be split evenly between each of our chosen chairities: 

  • NHS Charities Together 
  • SPEAR Search and Rescue

THE ‘OUR EVEREST’ TEAM

Mervyn   

Lauren


THE PLAN

Simple… to raise as much money as possible for two incredible charities that are very close to our hearts.

The first of these is NHS Charities Together, who are doing the most incredible job during these unprecedented times. The second is our own charity SPEAR Search and Rescue.

All money raised will be split evenly between the two, unless we do the same as the legend that is Captain Tom Moore, in which case we will probably have a rethink of that ratio a little bit. Funnily enough though I don’t think we need to worry about that sort of problem just yet!

THE HOW

To climb Everest indoors! A mere 3782 flights of stairs up and of course 3782 flights back down! It will be equivalent to ascending the 8848m/29,028ft of the world's highest mountain and then returning to sea level again. 

It works out to a WHOPPING 98,332 steps!!!

The stairs have even been measured, (for anyone wondering they’re 18cm) to make sure that the actual ‘height’ of Everest is reached on summit day.

This won’t just be a simple up and down journey with burning thighs and boring views of my stairs though. Oh no! Check out the details section below for the low down on how this mountainous challenge is going to be that little bit special.

Most importantly though we also need all of you! Get liking and sharing and donating and help us smash our £200 target!

THE CHARITIES

Merv’s chosen charity is NHS Charities Together.

The decision to fundraise for them was a simple one, the NHS saved his life during this Covid-19 outbreak, along with the lives of many others. The NHS needs our help more than ever at this time, even when the pandemic has eased there will still be a lot to be done to return things to normal, or whatever the new normal is. Kit, equipment, research, staff welfare, everything will need cash injections. NHSCT is an umbrella organisation for the hundreds of NHS charities. They provide funding, advocacy, advice and general support and are best suited to direct any money we raise to the areas within the service that need it most.

Check out the link to their page below for more information about what they do.

https://www.nhscharitiestogether.co.uk

Lauren’s charity is SPEAR Search & Rescue.

Set up in 2018 by Merv, myself and five other very knowledgeable, skilled friends and colleagues, the charity’s aims are to alleviate suffering caused by disasters and emergencies both here in the UK and abroad.

Anyone who has ever set up a charity will know how hard it is and anyone who has set up a SAR charity will also know how difficult it is to get funding for vital kit and equipment. Covid-19 has had huge impacts on SPEAR, and thousands of other charities around the country. We can no longer train or hold meetings; fundraising is now harder than ever and many charities will struggle to come out the other side of this pandemic in good shape. Of course, on a personal level I want SPEAR to succeed in its own right but I genuinely believe that we also need to look to the future and be ready for events after Covid. SPEAR needs to be ready and able to respond when the time comes and the only way to do that is to keep fundraising now.

There is however another reason that I want to fundraise for SPEAR, even though people may question my choice given the current global situation. I can speak for both myself and Merv here when I say that being a member of this fantastic charity has helped me through some of the most challenging times of my life over the last few years. We’re a tight knit bunch and the other members, including Merv, who I am lucky enough to work alongside are some of the most inspirational and dedicated people I have ever met. When this Pandemic started and the country and the NHS was braced to deal with it, I had messages from all of them asking how they could help. They put together a team and applied to volunteer at the Nightingale Hospital in London, they worked at ventilator factories and signed up online to be NHS volunteers. The people within this charity are amazing and it deserves to succeed not only for all the people it will help in the future but also for them!

Check out the link to their page below for more information about what they do.

https://spear-sar.co.uk

 

THE STORY

The above paragraphs explain what the 'Our Everest' team have decided to do and for who but let me now explain how it came about.

For my part I have worked as a Paramedic in the London Ambulance Service for 10 years, a job which has put me on the front line in the fight against Covid-19 alongside my amazing colleagues. I have seen seriously ill patients, worked at the Nightingale hospital and undertaken ITU transfers. I have felt the PPE challenges, the pressure and I have seen this disease affect everyone, patients, the community and NHS staff alike. I have friends and colleagues who have been in ITU and others who are struggling under the pressure of not being able to see their families. I am lucky though, I have a job and a secure income, I have social interaction (from a distance) at work and I have had the chance to put in extra shifts and to do my best to help. Others are without jobs, money or a means to get involved. I know that if I was in that situation then I’d be struggling to deal with that feeling of helplessness.

My good friend and continued inspiration Mervyn Readfern, a Royal Marine for 30 years (12 of which were as Acting Captain), medic and co-founder of SPEAR Search and Rescue has not had my opportunities during this Pandemic. A man who never sits still and who is always the first to get stuck in and help in any way possible, has not had the best of luck recently. A series of serious health issues (of which he never complains), have forced him to take a step back from this active lifestyle, which I know is a source of intense frustration. When he tested positive for Covid-19 however, there was real concern that he might not make it out the other side. 71 does after all put him in a very ‘at risk’ category. He’s a persistent old thing though and thanks to the incredible NHS staff who treated him he did pull through and is now, thankfully, recovering at home. If Merv was fighting fit he’d be out on the front line, whether it be working in a walk-in centre, making/distributing PPE or delivering care parcels, he’d be doing something. He has the resilience of an Ox and a heart of gold and I am lucky to be able to call him a friend. I needed to find someway for him to be able to help too and it was from here that this challenge came about.

Anyone who knows me will know that I am liable to decide to do these sorts of crazy things simply to keep myself entertained and challenged. I very rarely think about doing it to raise money. I’m generally of the opinion that nobody would want to sponsor me, so I do it for my own personal achievement instead. This however was something different. I knew how Merv must be feeling at home not being able to help and with little to focus on because of the lockdown. I would be feeling the same. I wanted to get him involved from the off so that he could get stuck into something and make a difference. Plus, you can’t climb Everest on your own!

Merv admitted to me that he had been having a low day when I first told him about the Everest challenge but when he’d got his head around the concept, he was excited to get started and it cheered him up significantly. We chatted about how it would work and decided that if we were going to do it then we were going to do it as properly as possible. Neither of us ever do things by half. To that end Merv will act as Basecamp manager/logistics during this adventure and I will act as the legs (although after working out how many stairs I’m climbing I’m wondering what I was thinking). We each chose a charity and then we set a date.

Being able to get Merv involved and to have the opportunity to raise money for two such wonderful causes is such an honour. It will make the inevitable pain totally worthwhile.

THE DETAILS

How to make climbing stairs in the middle of a lockdown as realistic as possible?

First of all we decided that they shouldn’t look like stairs, they should look like snow. I’m not artistic enough to create a variety of different landscapes but snow and a few boulders I can manage. The plan is to cover the entire hallway and landing in bedsheets and duvets to give a nice snowy appearance and chuck in some hessian bundles for boulders.

The ‘route’ we will take, will be a real Everest route. From the South Nepalese side of the mountain we will pass basecamp and head up through the Khumbu Ice Fall, past Camps 1,2,3 and 4, to the South Summit and then up to the true Summit at 29,028ft. Updates on altitude and facts about the different sections of the route will be posted to social media as we go so that all of you can keep up with the ascent.

Next there will be fixed ropes for me to clip into. These, naturally have already been fixed by Sherpas and although the climb will not be Sherpa assisted, these lines will have already been fixed, and O’s and other necessities will have been cached on the mountain in preparation. Merv will tell me at what altitudes I need to clip into the fixed lines and how long for.

I will be carrying kit/equipment as per instructions from Base Camp and I will be putting on extra clothing layers as I ascend higher and the temperature drops (I might regret this if its as hot as it has been recently). I’ll also be cooking, eating and sleeping on the mountain and will carry the food and water I need with me. When it gets dark, I’ll be using a headlamp and when I get into the death zone, I’ll be using O’s (Oxygen to us normal non-Everest climbers). Obviously, this won’t be real Oxygen, but it will be an old facemask I use for doing woodwork without the filters attached.

The only things I won’t be doing to make the challenge realistic is foregoing the use of a real toilet, that’s just one step too far! The other is wearing boots and crampons. I need my stair carpet to be intact at the end of this.

Merv will be giving me real life weather updates from the Everest region in the days leading up to the summit attempt on the evening of the 7th. I will have come off shift in the morning and starting the ascent that evening gives me time to get an understanding of my pacing before spending a night sleeping on the slopes. We have no idea how long it’s going to take but we have up to the 10th to complete it, after that I’m back to work.

We will need all the encouragement we can get so please please please, share our story, tell your friends and donate if you possibly can!

Thank you

From

The Our Everest Team

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