16 January 2024

Climbing Everest following cancer remission

Fleet resident, Jordan Chhetri, is preparing to climb Mount Everest in support of Southampton Hospitals Charity and the Piam Brown children’s cancer ward following his treatment as a teenager from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

 

“I can remember it clear as day when the doctor told me I had cancer in 2009.

It started when I was 13. My left knee started to hurt, then I had a cough that wouldn’t go. I would walk up the stairs and it felt like I had sprinted a marathon!

I went to Aldershot Hospital where they took blood tests. The results showed abnormalities with my blood work, so I was given a chest x-ray. That was when they found the tumour.

Have you ever experienced it when someone says something to you, but it’s such a shock that it just fades out like white noise. And then you focus back into the room, and it hits you all at once. I had cancer.

The x-ray showed a massive tumour 14cm by 9cm on my lungs.

I was referred to the specialist Piam Brown children’s cancer ward at Southampton Children’s Hospital. There I had lumbar punctures on the tumour before starting intense chemotherapy on my 14th birthday. They knew I could take a joke and even wrapped up my chemotherapy like a birthday present! I laughed so much.

The staff are so good in Southampton and were throughout the whole hospital experience. They made such a difference to my time there.

I spent the next nine months between being at home, coming to Southampton having regular chemotherapy and lumbar punctures, or going to Frimley Park if I had a temperature. I knew the treatment was working quite early on because the pain in my leg went, as did the cough.

By December, the tumour shrunk to the size of a penny, so then I had radiotherapy to finish my cancer treatment.

I had the mindset right from the start that I couldn’t let the cancer kill me. It just wasn’t an option.

Then in January 2015 I went into remission. It was such a relief over the years when I hit five years, then 10 years remission, but many of the other children I was in hospital sadly aren’t here today.”

Climbing Mount Everest

“I owe my life to the hospital, and so I wanted to do something equally amazing by climbing Mount Everest in 2024 for Southampton Hospitals Charity, with donations going specifically to the Piam Brown ward.

I don’t know what the fascination is, but I’ve always wanted to climb it! Starting from Kathmandu, I’m undertaking the 14 day trek up to Base Camp Everest. On my way I will be climbing Lobuche East for the mountain climbing experience and to acclimitise with AGA Adventures, before myself and Gelji Sherpa attempt to summit Mount Everest.

I’ve been training for about a year already as this is such an extreme challenge. After waking up, I go for a 6-10 mile jog at 3.30am before heading home for breakfast and work. Afterwards I do weight training in the evenings for the different muscle groups to build up my strength.

I’ve climbed all the highest mountains in England including Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, and Snowdon. In November I travelled to Scotland with friends and climbed 14 mountains, covering 33 miles, non-stop in just 24 hours!

To climb Mount Everest, you must climb Mount Aconcagua first to prove you can handle the altitude, therefore in January I am going out to going out to Argentina. Aconcagua stands at 6,961m tall, and is the highest mountain in the Americas. It will be the perfect training for Everest, although that is an additional 2,000m taller than Aconcagua!

Then finally in March I will be heading out to Nepal to acclimatise before beginning my climb on 4 April. The plan is to start trekking to the summit from base camp on 12 April.

I want to show not just cancer patients but everyone that once you put your mind to it, nothing is impossible.”

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