A climber with cystic fibrosis is taking on his greatest challenge yet to raise £100,000, to help others with his condition.
Nick Talbot, 38, was born with the condition which affects the lungs and can see sufferers handed a shortened life expectancy.
After near-death experiences as a child, Nick is now on trial drug Ivacaftor which improves the health of around 4% of CF sufferers.
Wanting to do more to help the 96% who can’t be helped by the drug, Nick, from near Hamsterley Forest, County Durham, will set out on March 29 for a two-month climb of Everest to raise vital funding for research into his condition.
Nick, whose sister Emma also has the illness, said: “We have a mild form of the condition and just over a year ago I was put on this drug which cannot correct previous damage but is making my lungs function almost normally.
“There are still 96% of people who most likely will need a lung transplant or other organ transplants. It is pretty awful as their lungs start to stop functioning. There is a lot of hope with new drugs but what is needed is funding for vital research into these drugs.”
Having already climbed the world’s sixth highest mountain, Cho Oyu, Nick knows only too well the challenge ahead of him.
In preparation for the hike, he has been climbing in the Lake District and Wales and running up and down 900 flights of stairs loaded down with a weighted backpack.
He said: “I’ve been doing as much as I can when I’m not at work. Just getting to the base of Everest will take a while as it is almost the height of Mount Kilimanjaro and then there is the climb. I have great parents who really put themselves out in many ways for myself and my sisters.
“They always encouraged me to do outdoor sports and spend time in the mountains. Over the years I have pushed myself and my boundaries to see what I could do and gradually got higher and higher, and in 2011 on the second attempt I reached the summit of Cho Oyu.
“With the training and severe challenges which come at altitude this was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, every step and breath was a challenge. Yet for me this was only for a month or so.
“The more serious sufferers of cystic fibrosis face this every day of their lives and ultimately have to hope for a lung transplant.
“Next month, 50 years on from the creation of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, I’ll attempt to climb Everest to raise money and awareness for the trust. It has involved many months of intensive training and is as much a mental challenge as a physical one.”
Anyone wanting to sponsor Nick or follow his progress can visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/CFvs.Everest .