Three years ago Derry man John Porter decided he wanted to do something special to mark turning 50 this year.
He decided the monumentalthing he most wanted to do was wake up at Everest base-camp on the morning of his 50th birthday.
As John set about making his dream a reality, he was dealt a devastating blow with the death of his father from lung cancer. In an extremely cruel blow, his father was diagnosed on Monday and died on the Friday of the same week.
It was during this short time that John and his family first came into contact with Macmillan Cancer Support. John explained: “In his final hours my father was looked after by a Macmillan nurse who was basically like an angel for us, she was a God send.”
As he worked to overcome his loss, John remembered his dream and decided that he would kill two birds with one stone.
He would still travel to Everest Base Camp but he would now do so whilst wearing Crocs and use the trip as an opportunity to raise money for Macmillan as a mark of his gratitude for their support.
John said: “I wear Crocs 24/7 so I had plenty of practice and was well used to wearing them in my day-to-day life, so I thought why not wear them on my walk?”
So on 9th October this year, John and his trusty Crocs left Dublin and set off on their epic adventure.
He started his walk on the 11th and arrived at Base Camp on the 21st.
He camped there overnight and on the morning of 22nd October, woke there on his 50th birthday as he had wished.
Not only has John’s efforts helped raise vital money for Macmillan Cancer Support locally, but he also fulfilled his father’s final request. John said: “I was the executor of my dad’s will and he asked for all the children and grandchildren to use the money he’d left them, to do something to benefit their life. I feel that this trip really did that, in some ways it is a legacy to my father’s memory.”
John has now been bitten by the charity bug and as well as continuing to do further fundraising for Macmillan in the North West, he also hopes to take first aid supplies to Nepal next year to help train first aiders in the country.
He said: “My climb to Everest’s Base Camp was amazing and I would recommend it to anyone, I’d go back again tomorrow if I got the chance. It’s definitely something ticked off the bucket list.”