They made it!! 10 Former Newcastle Knights players, along with 19 others in the group, have finally reached their pinnacle, Everest Base Camp, after 9 days of trekking through amazing scenery – all in the name of brain cancer research.
Following the success of last year’s fundraiser along the Kokoda Trail, led by Paul ‘The Chief’ Harragon, the challenge had been set this year with Everest Base Camp in their sights.
This year is the 20th anniversary of the Newcastle Knights 1997 premiership victory, and the 14 day journey was just one of the ways this milestone was being celebrated amongst the team mates.
Having left almost 2 weeks ago to begin the trek to Base Camp, the group, including Matty Johns, Bill Peden, Danny Buderus, Steve Menzies, Matt and Kurt Gidley, along with ‘Chief’ and Mark Hughes himself, had a shaky start when their luggage didn’t arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal on their flight over. It was some 30 hours later they were reunited with it just in time to begin the trek.
“All the team have been powering along the track well, there’s so much wonderful scenery and amazing towns and people along the way, you just don’t know where to look” said Mark Hughes. “To reach our summit, all together, with everyone fit and healthy is just incredible. It’s just been the greatest adventure” said Hughes.
“The way I see it is, patients and families with cancer climb far harder mountains than this. This is nothing compared to what they are going through.”
Fellow trekker and great mate Danny Buderus said “ There’s so much to take in around you, you just can’t take it for granted either. You’re walking and facing it (Mt Everest) the whole time. Hopefully those following our trip at home have enjoyed the experience through the lens. But its nothing like being here. ”
Major sponsors The Man Shake and nib have both contributed substantially to the fundraising target of $500,000, but the group are still short with the tally at a massive $448, 125.
“Everyone’s been so generous with the donations, but we set a goal of $500,000 and we are so close. We’ve achieved the goal of reaching Base Camp, and we’d love to finish this off right too. If you’d like to help us and still donate, please get on the MHF website and follow the link.” Buderus said in a recorded video at 5150 metres above sea level on the mountain.
Brain cancer kills more people under the age of 40 and more children under 10 than any other cancer, yet receives very little government funding.
Mark Hughes was diagnosed with brain cancer in July 2013 and formed the foundation in May the following year.
The group are due back in Australia late Friday night, and some of the trekkers will be available for interviews Monday 30 October.