13 Years After Losing Both Legs in Afghanistan Explosion, Double Amputee Reaches Summit of Mount Everest
Hari Budha Magar chased his lifelong dream despite all odds.
We all have days when we feel down in the dumps. It can be easy to question ourselves and wonder if our dreams or the things we’re trying to achieve really are attainable.
But nothing is impossible, so long as you don’t give up. At least that’s the lesson we’re taking away from this incredible story about a double amputee who recently reached the summit of Mount Everest.
A Man Makes History
Thirteen years ago, Hari Budha Magar lost both his legs above the knee after he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) while serving in Afghanistan. The former Gurkha soldier (a historical term for a Nepali warrior) who lives in Britain faced many challenges as a result, including a major setback in his dream of climbing Mount Everest — something he had wanted to do since he was a kid.
You see, Nepalese officials had previously banned those with disabilities from climbing the mountain in hopes of decreasing the number of fatalities. The Supreme Court later overturned the ban, but then Magar had to wait out the pandemic, when all mountaineering was halted. Finally, this year, the man got his shot to prove himself on the 29,032-foot climb.
Magar began climbing on April 17, according to The Guardian. It was a tough trek from the beginning. At one point, he had to wait 18 days for the weather to clear. Along the way, he saw two dead bodies being carried down. And at one point, as he was descending, he ran out of air.
“My lifetime goal is to change the perceptions people have of disability.”Hari Budha Magar
“When I came down, we ran out of oxygen. I was bumping down on my bum, and we had 30, 40 minutes of oxygen, and we still had about two, three hours to get down,” he explained, as per the Associated Press.
“This was the first time I experienced what it is to be deprived of oxygen. I had the tingling sensation; my hands and feet were cold, and I was gasping for breath.”
One of Magar’s climbing partners gave him more oxygen, and he was able to complete the climb. Today, Magar has made history as the first-ever double above-the-knee amputee to climb Everest.
An Important Lesson to Impart
One of the reasons Magar was so intent on completing the climb was to change the perception of people with disabilities. It’s a cause that’s near and dear to the man’s heart, and it continues to drive him in everything he does.
“My lifetime goal is to change the perceptions people have of disability. My life changed in a blink of an eye. But whatever happens, you can still lead a fulfilling life,” he declared after the climb.
It was a lesson even Magar had to learn. Growing up in Nepal until he was 19 years old, he saw how disabled people were treated in remote villages. “Many people still think that disability is a sin of previous life and you are the burden of the earth. I believed this myself because that is what I saw. That is how I grew up,” he said, as per The Guardian.
“We all have our own weaknesses and disabilities, but instead of the weaknesses, we should be focusing on our strengths, and only then we can all lead a better and meaningful life,” he continued to AP.
“If a double above-knee amputee can climb Everest, you can climb whatever mountain you face, as long as you are disciplined, work hard, and put everything into it.”
The Importance of Not Giving Up
If Magar was able to realize this extremely tough physical and mental feat after suffering such a huge loss, there’s no reason we can’t all pursue our own dreams and life ambitions.
There will always be things to overcome, but this man reminds us all of the importance of sticking with it and maintaining a positive mindset.
Besides, life is more than a destination: it’s about the journey. And any journey worth writing home about is filled with ups and downs, twists and turns.
It’s how you handle those integral moments along the way that will ultimately determine your outcome.