29 November 2017

Wounded Veteran receives hero's welcome following grueling Everest trek

Disabled war veteran Anil Gurung was given a hero’s welcome on his return to RBLI after he battled through intense altitude sickness to climb to Mount Everest Base Camp in aid of the national charity.

Former Gurkha Anil, who lost his right leg after he stepped on an IED during a tour of Afghanistan in 2009, reached the dizzying height of 17,600 feet with 18 others climbers.

However, the 29-year-old, originally from Nepal and now living in Maidstone, started the ten-day trek with a group of almost 30 – many of whom had to descend rapidly before reaching Base Camp as a result of altitude sickness.

Anil who works in RBLI’s Aylesford social enterprise Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company – which employs more than 120 people, 70% of whom are veterans, have a disability or both – said:  “It was definitely the most difficult thing I have ever done – it was physically and mentally draining.

“I have never been up to that altitude before and it really had an effect on my body – the higher I climbed, the slower I became and I completely lost my appetite.”

Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS) is cause by acute exposure to low amounts of oxygen, causing headaches, nausea and vomiting and shortness of breath.

“There were times when I thought that I would have to quit because my headaches were so bad, but fortunately once I rehydrated I felt well enough to carry on.”

“What kept me battling was knowing that the money I was raising is going to help veterans, like me, who may struggle to find employment without the help of Royal British Legion Industries.

“The charity has done so much for me, so it felt great to reach the top and hold out flag with Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company on it.”

BBMC operations manager David Church said: “Having competed twice in the Invictus Games, winning gold and silver medals, Anil has always been an inspiration to the RBLI and BBMC team. He is a testament to the determination found in the British Armed Forces.

“The money he has raised through his bravery will go directly to helping other people like Anil, who may have fallen on hard times, but who also have potential to do tremendous things.”

Dan Painter, open challenge development manager at Discover Adventure, who helped organise Anil’s trek said: “I managed to speak to the doctor who was on the challenge with Anil. He said Anil never let his disability affect his determination or capability to reach Everest Base Camp – he was an inspiring model for the group.”

Anil is close to his fundraising target. To learn more about his challenge and to donate to his cause visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/anilgurung, and to find out more about the services of Royal British Legion Industries visit www.RBLI.co.uk/