Chris Murphy, who lives in Australia, had signed up for the challenge of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, when he decided he would like to use the opportunity to support a charity. A phone call with his mum led him to support the Trust, having heard about little Rubén who has myotubular myopathy.
On his return from his gruelling challenge, Chris kindly shared his experience with us:
“The Mount Kilimanjaro trek literally came about over a phone call and it was just a bit of fun and a little challenge to aim for. Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania stands at 5895m and is the largest free standing mountain in the world. Known to the locals as the rooftop of Africa.
Getting to Tanzania was a trek in itself as I live in Melbourne. The journey took me 30 hours over 3 flights. The trek lasted a total of 8 days – 6 days up AND 2 days down, over a total of around 60-70 kms. With our group were a team of local guides, porters, cooks and toilet boys. Without them we would never made it past day one as they carried our extra kit, food, tents and everything needed to survive up the mountain.
The first 5 days the trek went pretty smooth and was feeling comfortable. Due to the rise in elevation even though we were ascending slowly a few people in the group were suffering with altitude sickness and lack of sleep as the altitude can affect this. Each morning after breakfast and wash, we would grab our day bags and trek on average 10kms. Then came summit night. After a day of rest and acclimatising we prepped our bags for an 11pm set off. After a late dinner we put on our head torches and followed our main guide, Bryson, in to the darkness of the mountain. In my mind I was already on the summit due to the ease of the previous days, then after about four hours trekking the altitude really began to affect me. First getting a splitting headache, then the feeling of being really drunk like I’d just had 10 pints down the pub. I was struggling to walk in a straight line and was slurring my words. By now I was really dehydrated as all my water had frozen as the temperature was -15 and went as low as -26 at the summit. The only thing in my mind by then was just one foot in front of the other until I got to the top and after 8 hours I made it to the top by then hallucinating from the lack of oxygen. After a few minutes I was able to get out little Rubén’s banner and pull on the Myotubular Trust t-shirt for a summit picture and video then it was time to leave as my altitude sickness was getting worse.
The next 2 hours descent was tough as I could not stay on my feet through exhaustion, but we made it back to camp for a well-earned cup of coffee and sleep. From there it was an easy two days down the mountain to the gates and the bottom and a well-earned shower and bottle of the local Kilimanjaro beer.
I was thinking about putting up a charity for the trek then my mum, Tracy, told me about her old friend Su and her little grandson, Rubén. After speaking to Su and her telling me all about Rubén and the Myotubular Trust, and how much they have helped Rubén and other families, I was more than happy to do it and the reaction I got from family and friends was amazing and made the trip even more worthwhile.
Now back in Melbourne rested and having finally washed the dust off it’s time to look in to the next challenge. Kilimanjaro was a trip of a life time and going only knowing one friend I walked away with a group of friends from the trip. I’d also like to thank everyone who donated and supported me on the trip.”
We were blown away that despite exhaustion and altitude sickness, Chris remembered to display the banner with Rubén’s photo on, and put on his Myotubular Trust t-shirt when he reached the summit. What a legend and what a great photo!
We are incredibly grateful to Chris and so impressed by his achievement, and cannot thank him or his sponsors enough for the wonderful support. Thank you!