Couple’s Gruelling Everest Challenge

A MAN left partially sighted by a serious car accident is to climb Everest in aid of the hospital where he was rehabilitated.

Daniel Baker, now 38, was driving home on February 11, 2009 when he claims a car pulled out in front of him on the A25 near Seal, causing him to collide with another vehicle.

The incident left him in intensive care in King’s College Hospital in London, where he spent three weeks.

Following a total of four months of hospital treatment, including five weeks at Kent and Sussex Hospital and two months in the West Kent Neuro-rehabilitation Unit at Sevenoaks Hospital, Mr Baker, a former airline captain and examiner, was left being only able to see with his right eye.

But in spite of not being able to drive or fly any more, he said he is determined to complete a gruelling physical challenge to raise funds for the neuro-rehabilitation unit.

His target is to trek 18,000ft to the base camp of Mount Everest, which will involve five to six hours of walking for 23 days.

He said: “Without question this is the biggest challenge I have ever done.

“Trekking to that altitude is very tough, even for fit people, let alone someone who has been battered!”

But he added that although he has problems with balance, he did not have trouble walking and had been approved to undertake the challenge by doctors.

Also attempting the challenge is Mr Baker’s wife Lynne, his neuro-physiotherapist Jane Cast and her husband Michael and friends James Aylett and Suzie Cobham from Redhill.

Speaking of why he wants to raise the money for the unit, he said: “Neuro-rehabilitation does a very, very important job as it involves all sorts of therapy to help rehabilitate the people that suffer with the unfortunate conditions back into the community.

“I would like to raise money for them because it will make the life of the in-patients a little more comfortable and it may even help improve the life of someone we know.”

The challenge will not be Mr. Baker’s first mountain visit since his accident.

He and his wife, who live in Comp Lane, Platt, married in December at the peak of a mountain in New Zealand.

The money raised from their challenge will be donated to the League of Friends of Sevenoaks Hospital who will use it to buy a £12,5000 Biodex rehabilitation piece of equipment, which helps people to walk after suffering serious injuries.

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