Five years ago Ely fitness trainer Tim Megginson was diagnosed with severe arthritis and had to undergo an operation on both his hips. In three days time he and three friends will be trekking up Mount Everest to raise money for a charity close to his heart.
Spotted in Ely caught up with Tim while he was at Heathrow Airport tonight, about to board a plane for his big adventure with fellow mountaineers Tom Kynaston, Nicky Taylor and Jon Palmer.
He and the rest of the team were “feeling optimistic” about their intrepid challenge, which will see the four Ely residents trekking from Katmandu to Mount Everest Base Camp and back again.
Base camp is 5000 metres about sea level – so they will be ascending a similar height to Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa’s tallest mountain.
Tim said: “I’ve done forest walks before but nothing on this level. I don’t know what to expect exactly. I’m well prepared.
“I’ve always wanted to climb Everest since I was a kid. It’s been on my bucket list for a while. I’ve always loved travel.”
Tim, who runs Body Shape Fitness Camps in Ely, Chatteris, Soham, Cambridge, Downham Market and Newmarket, will start his charity trek on Saturday (October 15), raising money for Arthritis Research UK, a cause close to his heart.
In 2011 was diagnosed with an impingement condition (a type of arthritis) in both of his hips, which seriously damaged his cartilage and bone.
The following year he had major surgery in his right hip and needed an operation on his left the year after to prevent more deterioration.
“I was left non weight bearing for six months in total. I have had to adapt nearly all of my exercise and there is a lot of activities and sports I will never do again as a result of the damage.
“It’s also going to make this trek one of the toughest challenges I could face as I’m sure I will be one of only a few people to make the journey with this or similar conditions.”
Arthritis debilitated millions of people of all ages and prevented them from leading an active life, Tim said.
He added that although arthritis was largely perceived as being a condition affecting older people, it was also common in young, very active people, so it was important to raise awareness.
“I want to do my bit to make sure any young person will have the opportunity to have the necessary surgery they need, as I did, and to also pave a way to new research to help us become more aware of these injuries earlier in young people and develop more improved interventions, surgeries and research to help keep people active into later life.
“This is saving peoples lives and keeping them healthy and well.”
Tim hopes to make himself and his sponsors proud by “making it to the highest mountain in the world with bum hip joints”.
On his Just Giving fundraising page, he says: “Its going to be a testing journey for me and I’m sure I’ll be one of only a very few people to take on this feat through the Himalayas after having both my hips surgically reshaped and battling ongoing pain and limitations.”
According to Arthritis Research UK, more than one in six people are affected by arthritis. It is the biggest cause of pain an disability in the UK.
“We’re working to take the pain away and to help people remain active, doing the things they love.”
You can sponsor Tim here.