University lecturer’s gruelling 14-day trek to Mount Everest basecamp for Alzheimer care

University lecturer’s gruelling 14-day trek to Mount Everest basecamp for Alzheimer care

A University of Cumbria lecturer is attempting a 14-day trek to Mount Everest basecamp in which she will fly into the ‘most dangerous’ airport in the world, battle altitude sickness, sleep in wooden shacks and contend with plummeting temperatures all in aid of better care for Alzheimer’s suffers.

Michelle Thorpe, Senior Education Lecturer at the University of Cumbria, Carlisle will set off on her journey this Friday, 18 May.  She will fly to Nepal where she will transfer to Lukla airport in the Himalayas, dubbed ‘the most dangerous in the world’* due to its short landing strip and hazardous weather conditions which have led to several fatalities. She will then rest in Namche Bazaar to acclimatize to the altitude, before trekking for approximately 6-8 hours each day reaching a top height of 5400m above sea level while facing biting temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius.

Along the way, the group of approximately four trekkers and one Sherpa will stay in wooden shacks called ‘tearooms’ conveniently dotted along the treacherous route. Michelle aims to reach basecamp by Sunday 28 May.   

Michelle is undertaking this incredible challenge for a very personal reason. Her mother suffers from Alzheimer’s and is receiving excellent care where she lives in Plymouth. However, she has friends whose relatives suffer from the same disease in other parts of the country who are not and she wants to do something about it. With it being Dementia Awareness Week 15-21 May, Michelle decided to undertake the trek to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Michelle said, “When I found out that the brilliant care my mother receives is not country-wide, I wanted to raise money for the society who aim to support all sufferers of dementia. Completing this 14-day challenge is a lifelong ambition of mine. I’ve been training hard for 10 months, mountain biking, taking long walks in the Kielder Forest and trekking up and down Christianbury Crags so that I my body can handle the stress it will be put under. Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease close to my heart and so although I will be pushing myself to the limits it’s for a worthy and very personal cause. I am doing this for my mum and other sufferers of this terrible illness.”

Dementia Awareness Week runs 15-21 May. Michelle has set up a Justgiving page and will be updating on her progress via Twitter and Facebook.