British army soldier Gurkha veteran Hari Budha Magar, who lost both his legs while serving in Afghanistan, has successfully climbed to the top of the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest.
Magar, a father of three, served as a corporal in the Gurkha regiment in the British Army.
After Magar lost his legs to an improvised explosive device in 2010, he thought his life was “completely finished.”
“I grew up in Nepal, up to the age of 19, and I saw how the disabled people were treated in that remote village,” said Magar.
“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.”
The veteran, who now lives in Canterbury, England, battled depression and alcoholism following the explosion.
But Magar persevered.
The veteran helped strike down a ban on both double amputees and blind people climbing Everest, ensuring he would have a chance at overcoming both nature and his injuries.
According to the BBC, Magar hoped to “inspire others” and “change perceptions on disability” and set off with a team of Nepalese climbers to combat Everest.
The BBC reported that Magar, hoping to “inspire others” and “change perceptions on disability,” set off on May 6 with a team of Nepalese climbers led by Krish Thapa, a fellow Gurkha veteran and British special forces mountain troop leader.
Magar announced he “stood victorious” atop Everest around 3 p.m. on May 19, noting, “Disability is no barrier to reaching the 8,849-metre peak.”
Magar told his team down below on the satellite phone, “That was tough. Harder than I could have ever imagined.”
“We just had to carry on and push for the top, no matter how much it hurt or how long it took,” said Magar.
“If I can climb to the top of the world, then anyone, regardless of their disability, can achieve their dream. No matter how big your dreams, no matter how challenging your disability, with the right mindset, anything is possible.”
The former soldier said that when climbing the mountain became tough, he thought about his family and everyone who helped him get onto the mountain.
“As long as you can adapt your life according to the time and the situation, we can do anything we want,” stressed Magar.
Since returning from the mountain, Magar has redirected his energies to raising money for five veterans’ charities.
Two double amputees have previously climbed to the top of Mount Everest in the Mahalangur Himal sub-range of the Himalayas:
Mark Inglis of New Zealand in 2006
Xia Boyu of China in 2018
However, Magar is now the first person with above-the-knee amputations to have successfully summited the peak.
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