Long Covid: A climber from London ascends Everest for charity

During preparation for the trek, Charlie Russell met up with his brother Howie Russell and his day Tony Russell

In April, a Londoner with Long Covid plans to summit Everest for charity, taking on one of his toughest challenges to date.

Charlie Russell, 30, will attempt the trek with his father and brother in support of Long Covid SOS even though he is still recovering.

The organization, according to Mr. Russell of Colliers Wood in south-west London, had been a "lifeline.".

He continued by saying that he also wants to bring attention to those who "still suffer.".

When they fly to Kathmandu on April 4, photographer Mr. Russell, his father Tony, and brother Howie will start their challenge. They plan to spend more than two weeks climbing to Everest Base Camp and the Himalayan peak of Kala Patthar, which is about 18,500 feet high.

The charity Long Covid SOS, which promotes awareness, research, and rehabilitation, is the recipient of the £12,000 that the three men hope to raise.

However, Mr. Russell, like many others who live with Long Covid, could relapse from engaging in excessive activity, and he is all too aware of the dangers of attempting to accomplish his goal in Nepal.

If you do this and are able to get through it and are fine, he advised, "even if you do this, it might suddenly hit you; the exertion of it. You have to include the whole picture and not cherry-pick it. ".

He remained unfazed despite this and continued, "I'm more afraid of the altitude than crashing. ".

The difficult journey Mr. Russell has been on since catching Covid in March 2020 has contributed to the focus he has.

Photo of Charlie Russell in a hospital gown and mask while waiting for tests in 2020.
Before receiving assistance from Long Covid SOS, Mr. Russell claimed that he felt "nobody would really listen.".

He began to experience symptoms, including "crushing headaches," chest pain, dizziness, fatigue, and brain fog, a month after an initially minor infection.

"I once had a migraine that lasted for about 15 days," he claimed.

"My chest would tighten and breathing wouldn't be as easy every time I took a few steps. It was impossible to read, and it was impossible to focus on the TV.

I underwent a full body MRI and was thinking, "Please find something," which is a terrible thought process for anyone to have. "I had so many tests done, and they all came back normal. ".

Before he joined an online support group, according to Mr. Russell, he felt like "nobody would really listen." This was the beginning of Long Covid SOS.

In the early stages of the pandemic, he claimed, the charity was a "lifeline.".

We weren't really getting that recognition, so just talking to other people experiencing it with other people my age who are in a similar situation and suddenly realizing this is actually something going on, he continued.

Charlie Russell stood on top of a mountain peak during training for the trek.
I spent a lot of time lamenting the person I was before, but I'm much happier now, Mr. Russell said.

Mr. Russell said he hoped his own experience would serve as an inspiration to others and "give them hope," even though it took him three years to recover enough to go for walks with family and return to work.

"I've come to terms with the fact that I will never be fully healed, though I'm not sure I'll ever be at peace with it. I mourned the person I was before for a very long time, but I'm much happier now," he said.

"Those health gaps between my crashes are much longer, and I was able to regain a lot more confidence.

Maybe, just maybe, I'll have a window where I can accomplish it and make it to base camp. ".

According to Mr. Russell, the trek is a significant opportunity to represent people with Long Term Illness and raise the voices of those who haven't fully recovered months or even years later.

I'm just trying to raise as much awareness as I can for those who are still dealing with Long Covid, he said.

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