Three teams take on the third Everest In The Alps challenge raising vital funds for research into children's brain tumours
The four-day challenge on 5 March, conceived and inspired by Rob and Tanya Ritchie whose ten-year-old son Toby, has a low grade brain tumour, will test all skiers to their limits. They'll ascend over 2,500m every day to reach their target of ascending the equivalent height of Everest.
At altitudes of up to 3,500m, each Everest in the Alps challenger will burn through a daily average of 10,000 calories – the equivalent of running three back-to-back marathons.
Motivation is key to the ascent. Find out why those taking part are pushing themselves to their limits.
Cally Mirahmadi, Team Artemis: “My inspiration for this challenge is helping Toby and other children living with a brain tumour. I also hope it teaches my two daughters to help others and through seeing me train so hard, they learn that with dedication and commitment, they can achieve anything they want to. I know they are both extremely proud of me for doing this."
Lorna Timmis, Team Artemis: “My children are at the same school as Toby who has had to live with the impact of a brain tumour for a number of years now. If he can deal with his Everest and if I, and my family by way of supporting me, can help raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity then that is a reason for doing Everest In The Alps."
Mark Lindblom, Team Blackline: “Last year my friend Phil Spencer did the EIA challenge. I was blown away with the concept of Everest In The Alps and also the incredible tough journey the Ritchie family have been through.
“The more I read about Everest In The Alps, I just felt that what his father Rob & friends did on that first trip to raise funds and awareness of The Brain Tumour Charity, was truly inspirational on so many different levels. This spurred me on to join this year's challenge."
Nick Sowerbutts, Team Blackline: “It didn't take me long to decide that regardless of how tough an event Everest In The Alps might be, it was something I could do to make a difference to the lives of those children affected by brain tumours.
“I want to inspire and show my own two children that by pushing myself and do something that is way beyond my comfort zone I can, or at least try to, make the world a better place for others. Hopefully by me doing this it will inspire them to do something to help others when they are older."
Richard Blacker, Team Sagarmatha: “It's a combination of the charity which has become more and more emotive for me over the last few years. As a team, we have been close to at least three situations with friends and families who are either battling with or have suffered loss from this brutal disease.
“The more you talk to people and the wider we have spread our net in our fundraising and awareness of the event, the more stories and people effected emerge. So far it has been as much of a physical journey of fitness building for the event as it has been of an emotional on, as awareness grows of just how underfunded and worthwhile The Brain Tumour Charity is."
Stuart Miners and David Flight, Team Sagarmatha: “It started with a promise. Our friend's son, Alec, died of a brain tumour aged nine. Before he died, this extraordinary boy made his parents promise to do everything they could to make sure that what happened to him did not happen to any other children.
“It was this promise that led them to start working with The Brain Tumour Charity (his Mum is now head of strategy at the charity) and inspired their friends including us, to support them in their quest. We also lost a close friend in 2017 to a brain tumour – he was only diagnosed six weeks before he died. He left his wife, two year old daughter and two step sons.
“Brain tumours have the worst fatality rate of any cancer; it is the biggest cancer killer for people under the age of 40; and it receives only 2% of cancer funding in the UK. That maths simply does not add up and a cure can't wait!"
Funds raised by all the teams will go to The Everest Centre, financed by The Brain Tumour Charity with a global remit to research new treatments.
The centre will fund several, vital research projects that will help us understand more about low grade paediatric brain tumours, such low grade tumours in the brain often make them only partially operable.