For anyone attempting to reach its peak, Mount Kilimanjaro presents a challenge.
But for Anthony Baker, 31, from Eastfield, who is planning to climb the world’s tallest free standing mountain, the risk is even greater.
Mr Baker was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) at the age of six months after one of his lungs wasn’t working properly.
From then until the age of 15 he spent around half of his life on IV antibiotics, spending time away from school and his friends and family.
“At 15 years old I came out [of the hospital] and told my mum I’m not going back in.
“I was really fed up of being stuck there so every time I started to feel poorly I fought it.”
Now a personal trainer at Compass Health and Fitness gym, Mr Baker was initially told by doctors he couldn’t lead an active lifestyle due to his illness, leading him to gain weight – at his heaviest weighing 21 stone in 2016.
He was also told due to his CF his chances of naturally conceiving children were low but whilst waiting for the first round of IVF with his partner, they found out they were expecting.
The couple now have four children.
“I was told I couldn’t have children, then I was having them and I couldn’t run around, couldn’t kick a ball.”
This proved the catalyst for a dramatic weight loss – 9.5 stone in nine months – and a new career in fitness, even though his illness means he must complete daily physiotherapy and take 50 tablets a day.
After completing several long distance runs and obstacle courses, Mount Kilimanjaro is Mr Baker’s next goal.
“I felt I had to do something and I wanted to challenge myself. There is a high risk that I could get very poorly but my goal is getting to the top of that mountain whether I like it or not.”
September 2020 will see him set off in an expedition team of 15 including a doctor and two experienced mountain climbers.
Though there is a long time to go, Mr Baker is already training for the altitude – one of the biggest threats to success on the mountain.
“I’ve bought a mask to restrict my breathing, which is already restricted by CF but this does it even more.”
He is also planning to complete various test climbs in preparation including the National Three Peaks.
Mr Baker is completing the climb for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and needs to raise £4,300 in order to do so.
“I want people to see someone with CF at the top of the mountain, and show them we can do anything anyone else can.”
To support him in his fundraising efforts visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/anthony-baker6