'Let go of the past' - Paralysed man reaches Everest Base Camp on crutches

Jamie McAnsh trekked to Everest Base Camp eight years after he woke up paralysed.

A man has trekked to Everest Base Camp on crutches eight years after he woke up paralysed from the waist down.

Jamie McAnsh, from Cwmbran, has complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), a condition that causes severe and debilitating pain.

However, after an eight-day trek, Jamie realised his dream and reached base camp.

Sitting at 5,364 meters, or 17,600 feet, Everest Base Camp is a serious challenge for anybody, let alone somebody with limited mobility.

Jamie told ITV Cymru Wales: “It was 11 days all together, 8 days up, and then three days back. It was difficult, to be honest.

“As you’re climbing, you’re starting to feel the altitude.

“It also results in me having severe spasms, and I had one on the way back down, and that was when the team really got behind me.”

Jamie had to relearn how to walk with neurological and hydro physiotherapy

Jamie woke up paralysed from the waist down on January 6, 2014, after going to bed "as normal”.

Thirteen months after rupturing his spine in his sleep, he was diagnosed with CRPS, which has no cure but can gradually improve over time.

After learning to walk again with the help of a gruelling recovery process, he now uses crutches to walk.

“The pain I feel on a daily basis feels like I’m walking on hot coals,” he continued.

“That goes all the way up my legs to belly button height.

“As I was climbing, as I was getting more tired, I was feeling more and more pain. I took 8000 milligrams of pain killers a day to manage the pain.

“We trekked for 10 to 11 hours a day many days, and I would have to sleep for three hours just to rest enough to eat.

Jamie realised a life ambition when he reached Everest's base camp

Walking with crutches, Jamie, who celebrated his 41st birthday on the trek, said while there were additional challenges he had to face, his slower pace was also of benefit.

“When you’re that high, you have to think about every single step, I do that anyway, but you also have to think where the crutches are going.

“We probably acclimatised better, because we were slower. What you can’t do is just gun it off, it’s a slow pace game otherwise you really suffer with the altitude.

“If it hadn’t been for the guides, Phura Sherpa and Lopsang Sherpa, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.”

‘Let go of the past to move into the future’

Jamie says he could not have completed his challenge without the support of the sherpas and his support team

Jamie is no stranger to a challenge. In 2015, a series of challenges helped him raise £250,000 for charity.

Asked what helped him overcome his life-changing injury, he acknowledged that it is the people around him that inspire and spur him on.

“I have a seventy year old mother who I absolutely adore. She’s had cancer, three heart attacks, a brain tumour removed, and every day she still goes out and walks three to five miles.

“It’s the people I have been surrounded by that have pushed me to this. I am privileged to be surrounded by great people.

“I have bad days, I’m not this big positive guy that bounces around the house every day, and I go through all of that, but the difference that I have that some people don’t, is I respect my mind and my body and I know when to tell myself to have a day off.

“We all go through life changes, where we shed a skin or change a page or chapter.

“In January 2015, I had a funeral for my able bodied self. I took some photos of my able bodied me, I mourned over them, I burnt them and then I let them go.

“You go through an identity crisis, but you have to let go of the past. By doing that, you can move into the future. There is nothing you can do about the past.

“Don’t let your future be punished by the past. Don’t hold on to things you cannot change.”

From day one to eight, Jamie climbed up to 5,364 above sea level.

Speaking to ITV Cymru Wales from Nepal, Jamie has already set his sites on his next challenge, albeit closer to home.

“My initial plan is to get a haircut and shave my beard.

“Nepal has always been on my bucket list, and that’s always what I’ve set my mind to, but Wales is where I’m really at.

“I love Wales, I love young people, I love disabilities, and I love getting people back up on their feet.

“What I would like to do is follow the Wales Coast Path and invite people along the way and complete some of the path with us.”