By Shaun Moloney
A cancer survivor from Ilkley plans to conquer the trek to Mount Everest base camp in November – at the age of 60.
Charles Appleyard, a retired special needs teacher, will represent Macmillan Cancer Support Group as he attempts to tackle the three-week trek which ends at Kalapathar – 5,545 metres above sea level.
Charles said: “In 2011 I got ill with various symptoms. I was sent to Airedale Hospital where they found a polyp in my bowel that had cancer in it. Because we had discovered it early on they were able to whip it out and the cancer had not spread.
“Because it wasn’t aggressively invasive we were in the clear, but I still go for checks every six months to make sure and we are constantly monitoring it. Looking for extra information on my case was where I found Macmillan group, and within their fundraising schemes I noticed the trek to Everest base camp.
“I thought back to the Hotspur comics I used to read as a boy and the stories of George Mallory’s ascent of Everest – I thought that this was something I’d really like to do”.
Charles’s wife Sheila and two daughters Hazel, 29, and Katie, 32, had mixed reactions to news of his imminent adventure.
He added: “My wife frowned when I told her but eventually said that I should give it a go. My two daughters were also very supportive, in particular my daughter Katie, who works as a physio. She has offered me tips on my conditioning. I am pretty sure that as the time draws nearer though that they may raise concerns that I may have bitten off a little more than I can chew.”
Charles has already begun training with walking, circuit training and general exercise.
He said: “I have lost around a stone already, but am still working to reduce my body weight. My main worry is the altitude and mountain sickness. Oxygen levels are greatly reduced so you have to be careful. The longer it takes the better it is.”
Perhaps an even bigger worry is that the trip will coincide with a special date on the Appleyard calendar.
“My daughter Katie is getting married a week before I go, so I believe it could be a very stressful time for all,” Charles said.
To donate, visit http://www.justgiving.com/Charles-Appleyard