When he climbs to Everest base camp for charity in April, a Londoner with Long Covid hopes to take on one of his biggest challenges yet.
Charlie Russell, 30, will attempt the trek with his father and brother for Long Covid SOS, despite still being recuperated.
The organization had been a "lifeline," according to Mr. Russell of Colliers Wood, south-west London.
Additionally, he said that he wanted to bring attention to those who were "still suffering".
They will spend more than two weeks climbing to Everest Base Camp and the Himalayan peak of Kala Patthar, which stands at about 18,500 feet, when they start their challenge on April 4 when they fly to Kathmandu. Photographer Mr. Russell, his father Tony, and brother Howie will also be participating.
For Long Covid SOS, a charity that promotes awareness, research, and rehabilitation, the three men hope to raise £12,000.
Mr. Russell is all too aware of the dangers of attempting to accomplish his goal in Nepal, but like many people who live with Long Covid, he could relapse from engaging in excessive activity.
Even if you do this and manage to get through it and are fine, it could possibly hit you suddenly a week or two later; the exertion of it, he advised. "You have to include the whole picture and not cherry-pick it," he said. ".
Nevertheless, he maintained his resolve, saying, "I'm more afraid of the altitude than crashing. ".
The difficulty of Mr. Russell's journey since contracting Covid in March 2020 has contributed to some of his focus.
His symptoms, which included "crushing headaches," chest pain, dizziness, fatigue, and brain fog, began about a month after an initially minor infection.
He said, "I once had a migraine that lasted about 15 days.".
"Every few steps I took, my chest would tighten, and breathing wasn't as effortless. It was impossible to focus on reading or watching TV.
It got to the point where I had a full body MRI and I was thinking, "Please find something," which I think is an awful thought process for anyone to have. I had undergone a number of tests, and they all came back normal. ".
Before he joined an online support group, which served as the foundation for Long Covid SOS, Mr. Russell claimed he felt like "nobody would really listen.".
In the early stages of the pandemic, the charity, according to him, became a "lifeline.".
He continued, "We weren't really getting that recognition, so just being able to talk to other people who are experiencing it with other people my age who are in a similar situation and suddenly realizing this is actually something going on.".
Despite the fact that it took him three years to fully recover and be able to go for walks with his family and go back to work, Mr. Russell said he hoped his own story would serve as an example for others and "give them hope.".
"I don't know if I'll ever be able to accept the fact that I will never fully recover, but I've come to terms with it. I spent a lot of time lamenting the person I was before, but I'm much happier now," he said.
I was able to regain a lot more confidence during those periods of health between my crashes.
Maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to accomplish it and make it to base camp during a specific window. ".
The trek, according to Mr. Russell, is a crucial opportunity to represent people with Long Term Illness and raise the voices of those who are still unable to recover months or even years later.
I'm just trying to use this opportunity to raise as much awareness as I can for those who are still experiencing Long Covid's effects, he said.