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Kush & Anurag's Himalayan Charity Tour
As some of you know I have taken a gap year before starting university and I have decided to do something to help two charities,The National Autistic Society and Beat Eating Disorders, that have made a real difference to someone close to me (who has asked to remain anonymous).
Having never climbed to any meaningful altitude in my life before, I am heading to Nepal on the 22nd April 2022 (self-funded) to trek at high altitude through the Himalayas, where oxygen levels are c.50% of sea level! I have asked my dad to join me on this challenge and I hope we can encourage each other to be successful and raise as much money and awareness as possible.
Why have I chosen these charities? My inspiration for this trip is a young teenager, diagnosed with autism, who found themselves in the severe clutches of an eating disorder, anorexia nervosa.
Anorexia is a serious mental health illness, which claims one in five lives - and in fact one in 10 people will be affected by an eating disorder in their lifetime. Autism is a condition that is still sadly misunderstood by society - yet one in 100 people are on the autistic spectrum. At least 20% of eating disorder patients are diagnosed with Autism, yet the treatment approaches by most health systems are not at all being adapted for this, resulting in even worse outcomes for such patients.
Sadly, this young person has, as a consequence of this terrible illness and subsequent failings of the health system to offer appropriate treatment, been hospitalised away from home for the past 18 months. Their illness has been compounded further by depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicidal ideation and trauma. During this time I have seen how great an impact charities like The National Autistic Society and Beat Eating Disorders (as well as others such as Papyrus, Samaritans, and CALM to whom a small share of your donations will also go) have had when they have stepped in: from offering comfort, to advice, to finding experts, to informing lawsuits, to even lobbying the NHS and politicians. They have stood by and protected this person when all else conspired to go wrong!
Their story is an extreme, but increasingly common experience of eating disorders and mental health issues amongst teenagers, particularly after Covid. The health systems in most countries including the UK are simply not educated or resourced to help. These charities are owed a huge debt of gratitude as they try to fill the gaps so effectively with very limited resources. Without funding from the public they can’t provide their services to countless sufferers that need them and who are being overlooked by the system.
About our challenge: I have always been fascinated by mountains but have never been any higher than Mt Snowdon at a mere 1,085m! We are planning to trek through the Himalayas to the base of Mt Everest, via a route off the beaten track, climbing Gokyo Ri (5,357m), Cho La Pass (5,420m), Kala Patthar (5,644m), and hopefully spending a night at Everest Base Camp (5,364m) amongst all the climbers. We are incredibly honoured to be guided by Phurba Tashi, a legendary sherpa who has climbed Mt Everest 21 times (including three times in one season!) and summited 37 peaks over 8,000m in his career.
By pushing myself to do something so far outside of my comfort zone, although it can't possibly compare to some of the struggles that countless people with eating disorders, autism and depression go through every day of their lives, I hope to shine a light on these issues and raise some money for these wonderful causes. Please help me by donating generously - if you agree to claim Gift Aid, the charities get a further 25% on top of your donation! Please also feel free to share this page with anyone else you think would like to donate.
Thank you so much!
Kush (and Anurag)