From Long Covid to Mount Everest Base Camp: Man takes on challenge to raise money for charity

A man suffering from Long Covid has made such a startling recovery he will be climbing to Mount Everest Base Camp next week.

Charlie Russell, 30, lived with Long Covid for two years after catching the virus early on in the pandemic, and is climbing to the base camp of the world’s largest mountain to raise money for the charity that helped him, Long Covid SOS.

Charlie, who lives in Singleton Close, Tooting, was devastated to discover that he was not recovering from his Covid infection, and there seemed to be no help available at the time.

Charlie with younger brother Howie, who will take on the challenge with him, when they were kids (Picture: Charlie Russell)

He said: “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 said that before getting Covid he was the fittest he had ever been. He went on to spend more than two years with Long covid, mourning the person he once was.

Luckily for him, his body began to heal, and he could once again set his sights on his dream of climbing to Everest Base Camp, something that he and his family have wanted to do ever since he was a young boy.

Charlie trains for his Mount Everest Base Camp challenge (Picture: Charlie Russell)

Charlie will be joined by his dad and brother. The trek will take 17 days and, due to its high altitude, will be one of the hardest physical tests that any of them have ever undertaken.

Charlie said he has made peace with the fact that his body may never be completely healed, but feels confident that the challenge is achievable.

He said: “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.

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

Long Covid SOS will be seeing the team off at Heathrow Airport on April 7.

Garry Loftus, from Long Covid SOS, said: “Charlie will be supported by a highly experienced team on his climb to Everest base camp.

“A team leader, local staff and medics will be part of the group. We all face our own climb to Base Camp every day, from getting out of bed to putting one foot in front of the other.

“Two million people suffer from Long Covid in the UK, and this number is rising. Every step Charlie takes carries with it hope – a hope to help others.”

Donations to Charlie’s challenge can be made on his fundraising page.

Pictured top: Charlie Russell, left, with dad Tony Russell, middle, and brother Howie Russell, right (Picture: Charlie Russell)

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