Berkshire

Quadruple amputee from Sandhurst to climb Kilimanjaro

Ray Edwards
Image caption Ray Edwards has had special prosthetic legs created for the climb

A 56-year-old quadruple amputee from Berkshire is set to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.

Ray Edwards from Sandhurst had both legs and both arms amputated at the age of 32 in 1987 after contracting septicaemia.

Since then he has cycled, skied and co-piloted a plane. His next challenge is to climb Africa's highest peak.

At 19,334ft (5,893m) the inactive volcano is one of the world's highest freestanding mountain.

Mr Edwards is trying to raise awareness of amputees and funds for his charity Limbcare.

'Darkest moments'

He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph glands, in 1980, and went into remission after undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

He lost his spleen in 1981 due to the cancer and six years later he contracted septicaemia, blood poisoning, through a cut and lost his limbs.

He said: "They took my arms and legs off on Friday, 13th March.

"It was one of the darkest moments. My life's been a bit of a battle but I got over it.

"This [climb] is going to be a personal battle and I want to achieve that, and I want to inspire other people.

"So by achieving it myself, I can say to people 'come on, life's not too bad really'.

"It's very rare for a quad amputee to do it, only one other person has done it, a Scotsman who is a mountaineer."

Mr Edwards has had special prosthetic legs created for the climb and has been training on the Spanish island of Lanzarote on mountains with similar terrain to Kilimanjaro.

He will begin the climb later this week and expects the ascent to take seven days and the descent two days.

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