Henry Winter
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King's College London leukaemia researcher gets his crampons to beat blood cancer

Henry Winter
Posted by
08 Dec 2011

A blood cancer research scientist has survived snow storms and treacherous conditions to complete an epic trek climbing through 20,000ft mountain ranges in Nepal for charity. The researcher went on the month-long trip to raise money for the blood cancer charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

Researcher Shaun Thomas and Alison Jones tested their physical and psychological limits, not only climbing Mera and Island Peak mountains in Nepal, both over 20,000ft, but also traversing the 18,963ft Amphu Labtsa Pass between the mountains by rock and ice climbing.

Shaun said: “We had a very eventful trip, including getting caught for days in a snow-storm at 17,700 ft on the Mera La, which unfortunately prevented us climbing to the peak. We were also trapped by bad weather in Lukla, forcing us to walk for a further five days before catching a 12 hour bus to Kathmandu.”

Shaun Thomas is a researcher at the King’s College London Haemato-oncology department which is partly funded by Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, the only UK charity solely dedicated to research into blood cancers including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Recently Shaun’s has been analysing how normal cells work in our body by trying to define the “wiring diagram” of a cell and from this, he hopes to find how circuits go wrong during leukaemia.

The couple have managed so far to raise over £1,500 for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research and are on their way to their £2,000 target.

Mountain climbing has been a passion for Shaun and Alison for many years. Shaun said, “We were drawn to climb the Himalayas because we like to challenge ourselves. The remote mountain areas we climbed in were some of the most beautiful places in the world.  On the trek we also saw snow-leopard tracks in the fresh snow, which was very exciting.”

Shaun said, “I’d recommend mountain climbing to anyone. Go with a qualified guide who will instruct you and keep you safe. We started climbing outside on rock years ago with a French high mountain guide we know in the Alps and we have never looked back.”

To help Shaun and Alison hit their fundraising target for vital research, visit www.justgiving.com/shaunalison2011