Veteran Who Lost Both His Legs Celebrates Reaching The Top Of Mount Everest
VETERAN WHO LOST BOTH HIS LEGS CELEBRATES REACHING THE TOP OF MOUNT EVEREST
A veteran Nepalese soldier has proven that you can reach anything with enough determination. Hari Budha Magar, a member of the British Army's Gourka Regiment, lost both of his legs in an IED blast in Afghanistan in 2010. After facing a heavy battle with depression and alcoholism, he found the light in pursuits such as skiing and rock climbing. He then hoped to inspire others and change their perceptions of disability. Budha Magar has set himself the great goal of reaching the top of Everest.
The 43-year-old father of three started considering a challenge in climbing Everest back in 2018. Although he now lives in Canterbury, England, his upbringing in Nepal influenced his attitude towards people with disabilities. "I grew up in Nepal until I was 19 and saw how people with disabilities were treated in these remote villages," he said, according to The Guardian. “Many still think that disability is the sin of a past life and that you are the burden of the earth. I believed it myself because I saw it. That's how I grew up.
Determined to change these views, Budha Magar began his ascension on April 17, 2023, exactly 13 years after the day he lost his legs. He was joined by a group of Nepalese climbers led by Krish Tapa, a former Gurkha comrade and commander of the SAS Mountain Command. Due to adverse weather conditions, the group had to wait 18 days at Everest Base Camp in difficult conditions.
“All my jackets are completely frozen. Everything was frozen. "We even poured our warm water into a thermos of hot water and it was also frozen and we couldn't drink it," he told PA News. Although he contemplated giving up, he persevered and found strength in a promise that he would have to return home for the sake of his son. After a slow but steady ascent, Budha Magar finally reached the summit on Friday, May 19, 2023 at 15:00 Moscow time. This made him the first transfemoral amputee to climb Everest (according to Al Jazeera, two transfemoral amputees reached the summit earlier – Mark Inglis of New Zealand in 2006 and Xia Boyu). from China in 2018). Once at the top, the former soldier shouted: "We made it!"
During the satellite call, he explained what it takes to get there. "That was difficult. More difficult than I could imagine. We just had to keep going and aim for the top, no matter how much it hurt or how long it took," said Budha Magar. "If I can climb to the top of the world, everyone, regardless of their disability, can achieve their dream. No matter how big your dreams are, no matter how severe your disabilities are, with the right attitude anything is possible.”
Budha Magar added that those closest to him are also a source of inspiration. “When things got really tough, the thought of my wonderful family and everyone who helped me up the mountain drove me to the top. Without this support this expedition would not have been possible.” After his amazing challenge, he was greeted like a hero at Kathmandu airport, where he was presented with garlands by the Nepalese tourism minister. From there he rode in an open truck decorated with flowers while people waited to catch a glimpse of him.
“My lifetime goal is to change the perceptions people have of disability. My life changed in a blink of an eye. But whatever happens, you can still lead a fulfilling life,” he said.“If a double above-knee amputee can climb Everest, you can climb whatever mountain you face, as long as you are disciplined, work hard and put everything into it.”
After completing his great adventure, Budha Magar plans to devote his life to helping people with disabilities and working to change public opinion about them. But first, he also hopes to visit the place in Afghanistan where he first lost his legs for a moment of gratitude to come full circle. He explained: "If I hadn't [lost my legs], I wouldn't have climbed Everest, so it doesn't even count. Whatever happens, it happens forever.”