A 39 year-old man with Cystic Fibrosis who was planning to scale Mount Everest in an effort to raise money and awareness for the disease is reportedly safe and making his way back from Everest’s base camp after a massive earthquake over the weekend ravaged the region leaving thousands dead, including would-be climbers. Last week, Cystic Fibrosis News Today reported on Nick Talbot’s mission to climb the highest mountain in the world in spite of his disease, which would compound an already daunting challenge of braving the cold, thin air and dietary challenges of making such an effort. Talbot, however, could have never predicted that his advocacy mission would be interrupted by such a wild and devastating turn of events.
As late as last Thursday, Talbot had made his way to “Base Camp” at the bottom of Mount Everest, the staging area for all climbers who plan to make the ascent to the mountain’s summit, which measures 8,848 meters at its peak. Saturday’s 7.8 magnitude tremor, which hit 40 miles east of the Nepal capital of Kathmandu, killed thousands of people in the city and several climbers, as the quake shook Everest and sent torrents of ice, rock, and snow down upon base camp. After tweets from Talbot on Friday, nothing was heard from him immediately after the quake.
However, yesterday the UK-based Cystic Fibrosis Trust was able to make contact with Nick and confirm that he was “OK” and making his way back from the disaster site. According to a report on ChronicleLive, Talbot and his team were directly affected by the devastation at Everest’s base camp, which claimed the life of Senior Google Executive Dan Fredinburg among others. Members of Talbot’s team suffered “non-life threatening injuries,” but in a tweet this morning, he noted that there were indeed injuries from the ordeal:
Tough 48 hours after earthquake tsunami of snow, rock and ice hit base camp. Bruised, battered & lucky to be here, thx for all the kind msgs
— Nick Talbot (@CF_vs_Everest) April 27, 2015
Talbot’s Mount Everest expedition was part of a larger mission to raise awareness on social media about CF and generate funding for research into the disease as a result. His original plan was to have supporters schedule social media updates that would all post simultaneously on April 23rd via the #CFvsEverest hashtag to create social media trends on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Fortunately, the earthquake did not derail Nick’s social media campaign, though the disaster has brought a more sobering spotlight to his effort. However, in spite of the ordeal, Talbot will continue to advocate for more research into Cystic Fibrosis and next-generation therapies, such as the continued development of Vertex’s Kalydeco, which he credits as playing a major role in him being able to effectively train and attempt scaling Mount Everest. Talbot hopes that continued support from the CF community will lead to increased development for drugs like Kalydeco that can treat a larger percentage of those with the disease.
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