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Charlie Russell: a statement

We have received many messages of support about Charlie's challenge to trek to Everest Base Camp in aid of Long Covid SOS. However, some people have raised concerns that Charlie will be putting his health at risk and could provoke a serious relapse. Others have said that by doing this, Charlie - and we - are 'sending out the wrong message' about Long Covid. They fear that the public will think that if someone with Long Covid, who had been described as 'not completely recovered', can do this then it will seriously impact on others' chances of getting help, be that medical treatment or financial/disability support. We fully understand why people have these concerns and hope they will be addressed below.

The language used in the original BBC article was misleading and gave the impression that Charlie was still quite unwell with Long Covid. This is not the case, and we are pleased that the BBC has clarified this following a request from Charlie.

Charlie and his father have issued the following statement:

Since we announced the trek, we’ve received so much support from people out there, Long-haulers like myself and the fit and healthy (like many of us used to be). I’ve also received some messages from people worrying about the safety of what we’ve set out to do so I wanted to take this opportunity to talk a little bit about my recovery and why I feel I’m physically capable of this challenge.

Pre March 2020, I was the fittest I had ever been. I’d spent a lot of my life walking and climbing and my late 20s were no different. When I got ill with Long Covid, I spent nearly two years wondering if I’d ever be able to do that again and mourning the person that I was before. But last year thankfully something started to change. I don’t know if it’s down to the prescription medication, alternative medicine, the vitamins, the yoga, the vaccinations, the acupuncture, the breathing exercises, the ice water therapy or the different way I started to view this new life, but I began to heal. And I truly believe that is a possibility for all of us out there. We are all so different and because of that our recovery timelines will of course be too. It just takes time, and more for some than others.

I can now say that I am almost recovered but with limitations. I’m not sure if these limitations are here to stay or if in years they too will pass. But they have taught me to be mindful of what my new body can do and understand my old body a lot more than I ever had done before March 2020.

I am doing this walk to raise money for a charity that was my lifeline in the early days of the pandemic and to give hope to other long haulers out there. Long Covid SOS calls for Recognition, Research and Rehabilitation and that is what we are walking for. To make a noise loud enough to be recognised and to raise money for research and rehabilitation.

I am surrounding myself with experienced walkers and the knowledge that there is medical help to hand. But if I truly thought I would need it, then I wouldn’t be taking on this challenge. I know my body better than anyone and I listen to it more now than ever so if I can’t do it, then I won’t. But for now, I’m going to try!

There are too many of us not being listened to and that is what we’re calling for!

Thank you all for your support. Let’s keep going!

You can donate to Charlie's fundraiser here



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