rock bottom to mountain top at a run
one could accuse Hugh Lee of not rising to a challenge.
He left school with no qualifications, but is now studying
for a PhD. And, despite a history of alcohol abuse and
innumerable past injuries, he plans to run the world's
highest marathon from Everest base camp, raising money
for health charities in Nepal and closer to home in Harrogate.
Hugh left school at 16, he began to abuse alcohol, and
was constantly in and out of hospital following drink-related
was a mess," he says. "I'd had so many injuries: pins
in my shoulder, perforated ear drums, a fractured skull."
Not long after his thirtieth birthday, he was run over
by a car and ended up yet again in A&E. Lying waiting
for an operation on his damaged ligament and shattered
knee, he was visited by the consultant.
was a critical moment in my life," Hugh Lee recalls. "This
well-spoken man, dressed in a hacking jacket, asked if
he could have a word before he went home. He said he'd
been looking at my medical record, and it didn't make
good reading. A catalogue of accidents and injuries, all
of them drink related. He also noted that I'd briefly
so I thought fallen asleep. Far from
being a nap, he told me I'd suffered a seizure, brought
on as my body started to withdraw from alcohol.
warned me that if I didn't stop not 'cut down'
but stop drinking all together then it was the
end for me. His words sunk in, and when he suggested I
talk to someone from a local rehabilitation unit, I agreed."
hasn't looked back since. He kicked the drink, and went
on to do a community care practice course, followed by
an access course leading to a degree in philosophy, politics
and economics. He then got his MA in health service studies
at Leeds, and is now studying for a PhD, looking at health
promotion and HIV/AIDS.
his injuries, Hugh, aged 40, has always enjoyed sport,
and is now in training for the Everest marathon. It's
unique not just for the altitude: it also involves a ten-day
trek just to get to the starting point at Everest base
sponsorship, he hopes to raise money for Nepalese health
and education projects. He is also raising money for the
carers' resource centre in Harrogate, which offers support
and respite care for those with seriously ill or disabled
did some work with the centre last year," Hugh said. "I
was particularly impressed by their young carers group,
which helps children, some only 11 years old, who look
after parents with mutiple sclerosis or muscular dystrophy.
These children have to grow up so fast, but the respite
care allows them a little time just to be kids."
Everest marathon takes place on May 26, though participants
go out to Nepal on May 4 to allow time to acclimatise.
To offer sponsorship, ring 0113 226 8202 or email email@example.com