“Standing on top of Mont Blanc is a major event in any mountaineer's career and is particularly challenging if you are attempting it within a week” says Andrew.
This is something of an understatement, considering the context in which Andrew is taking on this challenge. Any attempt to reach the summit of Monte Blanc is a huge undertaking, particularly in mid September when the conditions can become almost Himalayan towards the top. Andrew will be constantly roped up with crampons on and ice axe at the ready, but there are a few other reasons that make this challenge particularly formidable.
20 months ago following a routine blood test, Andrew was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Since then he has been using a combination of natural diet and exercise to combat the disease. A few weeks after his return from Mont Blanc he will be celebrating his 65th birthday, and as a more ‘seasoned climber’, it will take a lot of extra training to achieve the level fitness and energy that he will need to be successful.
To mark this achievement, Andrew has decided to raise money and awareness for Children on the Edge. He has made the connection between the challenges he is facing in life, with the children we work with who, he says ‘through no fault of their own, have appalling challenges just to survive’.
One of the areas that we are currently working in is Kachin State, Burma. Here, together with local partners, we are providing Early Childhood Development for 1645 children who have been displaced by violent conflict in the last few years.
Andrew describes how he found this project particularly moving: “In this mountainous region children are caught up in a conflict that has left them displaced, without warm clothes and even food to survive. When I think that I will be in the mountains swathed in a duck down jacket to protect me from the elements I feel I must do whatever I can to create awareness of these children’s plight and help to clothe and feed them appropriately. I can’t do that on my own but with the help of friends, family and anyone who hears about this, in partnership with Children on The Edge we can make a real difference to these children’s lives”.
We’re hugely grateful to Andrew for taking on this challenge, and will be updating you with tales of his adventures in September. You can support him by donating on his Just Giving page, or texting MONT65£5 to 70070 to donate £5.