A Chesterfield cyclist who survived meningitis now has his sights set on getting to the 'top of Mount Everest' – on a bike!
Brave Adrian Beckett is taking on a gruelling trial known as 'Everesting', which sees cyclists riding the total ascent of the colossal mountain on one hill repeatedly without stopping until the total distance is completed.
Adrian is is taking on the challenge to raise funds for Meningitis Now and calculates it will take him 16 to 17 hours and cover around 170 miles on the same 1.75 mile hill - just outside Chesterfield.
And what makes the challenge all the more remarkable is that he nearly died after contracting meningitis.
“In 2012, aged 27, I had a headache – one I couldn’t shake off,” he said. “After a week the pain in my head was close to unbearable and early one morning other symptoms emerged.
“The whole right side of my body dropped and I was unable to move, I was unable to speak and make any sense and I developed a severe painful sensitivity to light. The pain in my head was debilitating.”
Adrian’s wife Mel called an ambulance which rushed him to hospital – where it was found his symptoms were being caused by viral meningitis which led to complications such as encephalitis (swelling of the brain).
“I was very quickly administered an anti-viral drug without which I would have almost certainly died,” he added.
Adrian said there were no guarantees he would be able to regain his full strength in his right side or his complete speech, but was lucky his wife acted when she did and that the hospital administrated the right vaccine in time.
“In the weeks and months following I was able to make an almost full recovery,” he said. “I personally knew someone who had exactly the same illness as me and did not make it.
“I am a very lucky survivor”.
Adrian has been training hard for the challenge, which includes starting out at 3.30am to help him get used to riding through the night.
He has also completed rides from John O’Groats to Lands End and London to Paris.
Meningitis Now chief executive Dr Tom Nutt praised Adrian’s efforts, saying: “Recovering from meningitis can be a long and difficult road so it is really inspiring to see Adrian take on such a tough challenge,” he said.
“Hopefully he will successfully reach the peak of “Mount Everest” and get safely down again too.
“Thank you Adrian for all the amazing hard work you are putting into this challenge – and good luck. All of us at Meningitis Now ill be rooting for you.”
Adrian’s Everest challenge will start at 10pm on Friday August 2 and finish around 4pm on Saturday August 3. You can sponsor him here.