This blog is not written by Martina since she had to abandon the climb and was flown to the Nairobi Hospital. We still want to keep Martina’s fans as well as friends and family of the 27 climbers who are still on the mountain informed about the last days of the climb. Here are today’s events:
Obviously all awoke this morning gutted to hear the sad news that Martina had had to abandon the climb.
She was assisted down the mountain by porters and driven to the nearby Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre for assessment, then, as a precaution, she was flown to the Nairobi Hospital for further tests which showed she was suffering from high altitude pulmonary oedema – an accumulation of fluid in the lungs.
Dr David Silverstein, consultant in cardiology and internal medicine at the Nairobi Hospital, said: “Basically this is fluid in the lungs related to high altitude. It is potentially dangerous when someone is at high altitude, but once brought down, recovery is quick. Martina is doing well and will continue to do well.
Everyone was devastated that she would not be there to summit with us and her absence in the mess tent at breakfast was felt by everyone. However, everybody was well aware that a tennis great like Martina would not have descended unless she had to and were humbled by the good wishes she had sent via the tour leaders just before she had to leave the mountain. Fortunately the situation galvanised the whole team and made them even more committed to climb: not just for Laureus but also for Martina.
It had, rather unusually for this climb, been a clear night overnight and so the views as we set off this morning of the valley below were truly staggering. As everyone packed up the bags and refilled water bottles a few looked longingly at the comparatively sturdy wooden huts dotted around Horombo camp as they ventured out of their, by now very, soggy tents for Barafu. However, if last nights events had taught us anything it was that they were all very lucky to still be on this magnificent mountain Fortunately the team couldn’t hang around for long as with 1000m of climbing to do this was always going to be a long tough day.
While the team still had strict instructions to go ‘pole pole’ (slowly slowly) there was definitely an extra sense of excitement about reaching the last camp before the summit. In addition, they wanted to get there with enough time to rest for a while also hoping that, by arriving early, they might avoid the worse of the weather.
This last aspiration turned out to be a pipe dream as the rain and then snow seemed to lash down on from every direction. This has definitely been the hardest day so far, not least because of the 17 hour day coming our way – starting at midnight tonight!
Among Martina’s team is British Olympic badminton star Gail Emms and German Laureus Friend & Ambassador, Paralympian Michael Teuber, who said: “The whole group of the climbers is very sad about Martina’s situation, but at the same time we are glad to hear that she is doing fine. Now we are even more motivated and want to reach the summit also for her. We will carry the Laureus flag up to the top and stick it in the ground for her.”
From her bed at the Nairobi Hospital, Martina said: “I’m disappointed not to be able to complete this amazing journey. It was something that I have wanted to do for so long, but it was not to be. I am so pleased that we got it going and I will be watching and waiting for news from the climb when they reach the summit tomorrow (Sat). I didn’t make it, but I think it has been a great success as we have raised funds and awareness for the work that Laureus does.”
Thank you for your support on http://www.laureus.com/get-involved/mount-kilimanjaro-climb