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8 June 2017

Terminal Cancer Patient Uses Final Months to Conquer Everest

Talk about not taking it lying down; Ian Toothill, a 47-year-old Sheffield resident given only months to live due to the abhorrent disease that is cancer, just proved in a big way that even such awful circumstances cannot keep him from doing as he wishes with this time here on Earth by reaching the very peak of Mount Everest. The climb is known as one of the greatest tests of strength and endurance anyone can embark upon, so to conquer the mountain in such circumstances is truly nothing short of awe-inspiring.

It is believed that Mt Toothill is the first cancer patient in history to reach the summit of Everest.

Toothill’s task is no selfish goal however, as his climb has raised over £31,500 for cancer charity Macmillan. In honour of one friend who donated £1,000 to his cause, the avid Sheffield Wednesday fan posted a picture to his Facebook account from atop the mountain with a Sheffield United flag in hand, ready to be left on the summit in his stead, displaying a measure of humour you may not expect from somebody going through an ordeal such as his.

The picture was accompanied by a caption reading: “Nothing to see here… Just some cancer dude on top of Mount Everest, and for a few minutes the highest person in the world!”

Toothill’s story, which led him to embark upon the challenge, is full of hardships, as you may expect given his circumstances. Diagnosed with bowel cancer in June 2015, Toothill was initially given between just four months and two years to live. Then in early 2016 his hopes seemingly came to fruition as he was informed that his cancer had gone into remission. I can only imagine the joy which coursed through him in that moment, but unfortunately for Toothill his elation was short lived. He was informed soon after that he did in fact have a matter of mere months to live. Unwilling to be defeated, or at least wanting to go out on his own terms, Toothill turned the terrible news he had been given into pure motivation and started making plans to conquer the highest peak on Earth.

In a truly inspiring message posted to his social media, Toothill further addressed his reasons for challenging himself in such a manner:

“For those who suffer daily because of cancer, I climb for you. For those who lost the battle with cancer, and the friends and families left to pick up the broken pieces, I climb for you.

“For those who can’t face the day, and struggle with the nights, stay strong and know this: you are never out of the fight, there is always a way.”

He concluded by saying that he hoped his actions would serve as inspiration to others to “go and do that special thing they’ve always wanted to do”, whatever form that may take.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.