Brian Reid, our oh-so-inspiring CFO, will be taking on the Everest in the Alps challenge next week. As part of Team Sagarmatha, Brian and his teammates will be attempting to climb the mammoth height of Everest on skis for the Brain Tumour Charity.
We caught up with Brian to find out what inspired him to take on such an epic challenge.
SN: First off, tell us about this crazy climb you’re about to embark on?
BR: Along with five friends – James and Richard Blacker, Dom Del Mar, David Flight, and Stuart Miners – we’re part of the third Everest In The Alps ascent, setting out to climb the vertical height that Mount Everest sits above sea level, so that’s 8,848 vertical metres.
SN: So what exactly will this gruelling climb entail?
BR: Starting out in Verbier in the Swiss Alps we’ll do this by ‘skinning’ uphill on skis over four days. Each day we’ll climb for 10-14 hours, aiming for a daily vertical gain of 2,000m to 2,500m. We will be reaching altitudes of 3,500m, burning 10,000 calories a day and using the energy required to complete three back-to-back marathons. We’ll be sleeping in mountain huts and set out before dawn in temperatures that can drop as low as -30c. I must remember my thermals!
SN: Crikey, we’re exhausted just hearing about it! So what training have you all had to do?
BR: We’ve been hard at it for six months now, fitting in our training four days a week between jobs and school drop offs! We started with 90 minutes endurance sessions in the summer and have slowly built these up to 2.5 to 3 hour sessions over the last couple of months. Added to these sessions have been strength, circuits and various outdoor walking, running and some altitude training. During the process I have climbed Mt Snowden five times – three of them in a 24 hour period. It’s all about getting hundreds of training hours into our legs!
SN: You’ve all chosen to raise money for the Brain Tumour Charity. Can you tell us a little more about them?
BR: Team Sagarmatha are taking on this challenge to support children living with a brain tumour. We’re raising funds specifically for The Everest Centre which is researching cures and treatments for the 26,000 children who are living with a brain tumour. It’s very personal to us though as we’re six local fathers who all sadly know someone who lost their battle to a brain tumour or are currently fighting one. Our friend’s son, Alec, died of a brain tumour aged 9. 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 other children. They have dedicated their energy to making this promise a reality and it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to help them honour this special promise.
SN: So what happens at the Everest Centre?
BR: The Everest Centre’s objective is simple – to double survival rates and half the harm – through ground-breaking research projects and trialling new treatments. The Centre was launched in 2017 by our friends Rob and Tanya Ritchie whose son Toby, was just 5 when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Living with a brain tumour is Toby’s Everest and he faces the challenge every day. So far, £4m has been raised and a further £1m is needed to secure the Centre’s operation and research for the next five years.
SN: What kind of support is involved in completing a challenge like this?
BR: Firstly, the most important support is that which we give other. You can’t do this without a team around you to motivate you through the gruelling months of training and drive
you through the relentless hours of climbing. Secondly, we will be supported by an incredible team of injured service men who are preparing for their world record attempt to be the first disabled team to complete the Adaptive Grand Slam – summiting the seven highest peaks on seven continents and trekking to both North and South poles. And thirdly – to help raise more awareness we’ve partnered with the brilliant children’s skincare company Childs Farm who will be adding vital info about brain tumours for parents on their merchandise.
SN: And lastly – why Team ‘Sagarmatha’?
BR: Sagarmatha is the Sanskrit name for Everest. It means “Peak of Heaven”. It reminds us of why we have taken on this commitment and helps us remember and honour our friends for whom a cure has come too late, and critically, it reminds us of the thousands of children who are living with a brain tumour. Every day they attack their Everest with courage, strength and a smile.
SN: So that just leaves us to wish you all the best of luck!
BR: Thanks – it just goes to show – if six nearly middle-aged men can do it hopefully we can inspire more to take on the challenge next year!
Read on for Brian and the team’s experiences of their climb through their own personal diaries.
For more background or to donate now visit their Just Giving page here
Watch the Everest In the Alps video
Visit the Everest In the Alps website
Brain tumours – the ugly facts
Brain tumours are dramatically underfunded – it is the biggest cancer killer of people under the age of 40; it is the biggest cause of preventable and treatable blindness in children; just 19% of adults survive for 5 years after diagnosis; and yet it receives less than 2% of cancer funding in the UK.
The Brain Tumour Charity is the UK’s largest dedicated brain tumour charity, committed to fighting brain tumours on all fronts. They fund pioneering research to increase survival and improve treatment options as well as raising awareness of the symptoms and effects of brain tumours to bring about earlier diagnosis. The Charity also provides support for everyone affected so that they can live as full a life as possible, with the best quality of life.
For more information: https://www.thebraintumourcharity.org/
Be Head Smart and learn the signs to look out for: https://www.headsmart.org.uk/