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On my 59th birthday, last July, it occurred to me that it would be nice to "celebrate" (not convinced that's the right term!) my 60th birthday in a year's time by undertaking some sort of fun climbing challenge, to prove to myself that I wasn't entirely past it if nothing else. I also thought it would be nice to do it as a charity fundraiser, with something in aid of cancer research being a natural choice, since both my parents having been affected by cancer prior to their deaths, and my father in law had been taken by liver cancer at a relatively early age.
My idea was to complete 10 sport routes of grade 6a or above in a day - 10 times 6 equalling 60. Not super challenging admittedly, but as my onsight grade was only around 6b, not super easy either. I managed to sell the idea to my wife (my main climbing partner) who would have turned 60 a few months prior, so would do the same challenge with me.
A few weeks after coming up with the idea, in the sort of twist of fate that generally gets the phrase "fickle finger of" attached to it, I was sent for a bone marrow biopsy to investigate some alarming looking blood counts taken as part of an unrelated medical investigation. The results of this (confirmed by follow-up genetic profiling) revealed I had a rare bone marrow cancer called Refractory Anaemia Myelodysplasia, with some not entirely encouraging mutations to go with it. I wrote a small blog post that has a few more details: https://maggotbrain.blog/2023/05/12/myelodysplasia-a-journey-of-discovery/
Since diagnosis, due to effects of the anaemia and associated tiredness and weakness, the challenge has morphed into something a bit less personally taxing - knocking out 12 sport routes of grade 5a or above in a short day (I tend to involuntarily fall asleep in the afternoon). We hope to complete these in under two hours - so 60 minutes each to continue the "60" theme, although as one of us (won't say who ;-) ) is a bit ponderous in her climbing, this might be a stretch.
We're looking at doing this as close to my birthday as my wife's work commitments allow towards end of July, at this location:
This is in Cyprus - so rain shouldn't be a problem, although heat might be!
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