A Bradford hospital worker is preparing to tackle steep and rocky terrain as well as high altitudes in a bid to raise funds and awareness for a cause close to his heart.
Paediatric Occupational Therapist, Shaun Phelan, who is based at St Luke’s Hospital, part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, will be taking part in the iconic Himalayan trek to the foot of the highest mountain on earth – Mount Everest in Nepal.
He will be walking for 12 days, for up to a shattering 12 hours per day, over steep and rocky terrain and at one point, at an altitude of 5,545 metres (18,192 feet) risking acute mountain sickness.
The 52-year-old of Low Moor, Bradford, is taking on the challenge in support of Bradford Hospital Children’s Charity, to buy equipment and little extras that will be enjoyed by young patients and their families using the new paediatric wards, now being built as part of Bradford Royal Infirmary’s new hospital wing.
Shaun said: “This will definitely be a challenge because it’s a Level 5 trek and the landing at Lukla airport is one of the most extreme and dangerous in the world. The air will be thin and this makes the trek particularly tiring but I will draw extra motivation when I reflect on the children who will be using the new children’s wards and how they overcome challenges every day.
“I have two grown-up daughters of my own and thankfully they are healthy and when you see children who are poorly it makes you feel very lucky.
“By doing this trek, I hope to raise funds to provide all those little extras to make a stay in hospital for children as positive and happy as possible but I also want to raise awareness too.”
This will not be the first time Shaun has unselfishly given his time to raise funds for Bradford Hospital Children’s Charity. Last year he joined colleagues to take part in the Dragon Boat race and he also took part in the National Three Peaks challenge.
But the idea to tackle this latest challenge came about after visiting Nepal for the first time in 2014 with his wife, Elaine, who is also a Trust member of staff, working in the Child Development Centre at St Luke’s.
“We trekked in the Annapurna region and the Himalayas before reaching the village of Namche Bazaar which has an altitude of 3,500 metres. We saw the monument to Sherpa Tenzing with Everest in the background, and at that time I thought that would be satisfying enough. But it wasn’t! After we got back, I knew I wanted to explore further.”
Shaun will depart for his new adventure in March 2017 which will see him trekking through Sherpa heartland to the monastery at Thyangboche, the Imja Valley to Dingboche and sleeping in teahouses (mountain lodges) along the route.
And when he reaches Everest base camp he has a special mission planned to put Bradford Teaching Hospitals and in particular, Bradford Hospital Children’s Charity, on the map.
“I am taking along a banner with the charity logo and my plan is to display it there!” he says.
Anyone wishing to sponsor Shaun on his momentous journey, can visit his JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ShaunPhelan