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Charlie's challenge to climb to Everest Base Camp to raise funds for Long Covid

Charlie Russell is doing something amazing - climbing to Everest Base Camp with his dad and brother in aid of Long Covid SOS.

Charlie has had Long Covid since March 2020 but has recovered enough to attempt this challenge, something he had been planning to do with his family before the pandemic started.

Read Charlie's story in his own words:

On March 15th 2020, I contracted Covid-19. As a young and fit person I was told (along with everyone else) that it would be nothing more than a common cold, but over two and a half years later I can safely say that for me and hundreds of thousands of others like me, that was not the case.

Charlie undergoing scans and tests

Initially Covid-19 affected me much the same as a lot of my friends, but when they started to get better and I began to get worse, I realised that this was something much more than what we had been led to believe. For weeks I was told what I was experiencing was “in my head”, or that I "needed to get out and have a run", because I was simply unfit from weeks in lockdown, but I knew this was something bigger. I would have done anything to be able to do just that, but instead I felt my body could barely move. Even thinking was exhausting, and despite being supported by those closest to me, I began to really feel that I would have to fight this battle alone … that is until I found Long Covid SOS.

Originally setup as a campaign group to advocate for people suffering like themselves, Long Covid SOS has become a vital support, advice and information service for thousands of people all over the world that are suffering just as I did. However, like the disease/illness? itself, Long Covid SOS so far hasn’t received the recognition it deserves.

Early in the pandemic, there was a complete lack of information surrounding Long Covid and I would have done anything to have had the vital information and support that Long Covid SOS now gives. But even now there are people suffering with Long Covid who are unaware of its existence. I want to help change that, because I don’t want people to have to go through what I went through in those early desperate months of the pandemic.

Charlie and his brother as children
Charlie and his brother as children

From a young age I have always felt most at home in the mountains and my mum and dad’s love of the outdoors has clearly had a profound and lasting effect on me. The first pair of shoes I remember having was a pair of ‘magic’ walking boots and I understood (from my parents) that as long as I had my magic boots on I could walk anywhere - and the tops of mountains as well as the views along the way were indeed magical!..... As they still are today. Since then, I’ve regularly climbed and walked every year of my life, right up until March 2020. So, when I was lying in a dark room, sick and exhausted from Long Covid, one of my biggest fears was that I’d never be able to do that again. But thankfully somehow I now can and so I want to use my love of walking and climbing to help people that can’t because they are suffering from Long Covid.

In April 2023, accompanied by my dad and brother, I’m going to try and complete something that the three of us have wanted to do ever since I was young and that is climb to Everest Base Camp. However, due to my experience of Long Covid and the amazing help and support I received from Long Covid SOS I now want to use the trek to raise funds and awareness of their invaluable work.

Situated in the upper Himalayas, Everest Base Camp sits 17,500ft above sea level and is the starting point for people who climb to the highest point on earth, the summit of Mount Everest. The trek I will be attempting will take 17 days and due to its high altitude will be one of the hardest physical tests that I (and my dad and brother) will have undertaken. We may not make it of course, my body still isn’t back to where it was before I got Long Covid two and a half years ago, but it has gradually improved and the ‘windows’ of good health are more frequent and longer. Long enough hopefully to allow me to do this for Long Covid SOS – and for all the people who are undertaking their own Long Covid trek to recovery.

So please put on your virtual ‘magic’ walking boots by supporting us and let us all trek together.

Garry from Long Covid SOS has this to say about Charlie's challenge:

What do we think about Charlie's fundraising effort for Long Covid SOS? The answer is simple.

Our Mission at Long Covid SOS is to:

Throw a lifeline to people living with the impact of Long Covid by pushing for greater recognition and awareness, driving forward targeted research and providing support and resources.

We are currently fundraising to develop more resources to help those with Long Covid.

The first time I heard about Charlie's fundraising, I felt a lump in my throat and a fire ignite in my heart. Two words then came to mind, almost immediately. These two words were 'Inspiration and Hope'.

Here is a man and his family who are about to live and make real a goal from pre Covid times. This is the hope. The inspirational bit? Well that's easy. This isn't about making everyone climb to Base Camp, this isn't about pushing hard and ignoring every scream your body gives you when you try to be ‘old you’. This is about everyone taking one step at a time, sometimes millimetres, in order to achieve a goal, live a dream. And never giving up on themselves, no matter how long that takes.

Charlie has battled with his own Long Covid; now he wishes to raise funds so that others get that support that we, and possibly you reading this, so deserve.

Not only does this millimetre by millimetre journey bring hope, it is a selfless act from one man, raising awareness and giving hope to what is now over 2 million people with Long Covid. Charlie is walking to Base Camp. The stairs in my house felt like that sometimes. So it really doesn't matter. We all face our own Base Camps, every day.

Charlie, I wish you and your family all the best.

On behalf of Long Covid SOS and the people this fundraising may support: you bring hope into the darkest of days

You can donate to Charlie's fundraiser here



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