• Ascent of Mt Blanc by team Mt Blanc for MS Trust / Royal Marines Charity

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In early June 2017, a team of six men will attempt to climb Mt Blanc, France, in order to raise at least £6000 for two charities; The Royal Marines Charity and the MS Trust. It is the intention to split the money raised 70/30 in favour of the MS Trust.

Mont Blanc meaning “White Mountain”, is the highest mountain in the Alps and the highest in Europe after the Caucasus peaks. It rises 4,808.73 m (15,777 ft) above sea level. The mountain lies in a range called the Graian Alps, between the regions of Aosta Valley, Italy, and Savoie and Haute-Savoie, France. The first recorded ascent of Mont Blanc was on 8th August 1786 and nowadays the summit is reached by an average of 20,000 mountaineer-tourists each year. It could be considered an easy, yet arduous ascent for someone who is well trained and acclimatised to the altitude. Each year climbing deaths occur on Mont Blanc, and on the busiest weekends, normally around August, the local rescue service performs an average of 12 missions, mostly in aid of people in trouble on one of the normal routes up the mountain. Some routes require knowledge of high-altitude mountaineering, a guide (or at least an experienced mountaineer), and require proper equipment. All routes are long and arduous, involving delicate passages and the hazard of rock-fall or avalanche. At least one night at a high mountain refuge is required to help acclimatise to the altitude.

Five members of Team Mt Blanc for MS are former Royal Marines Commandos and between them have extensive experience in operating in mountainous regions.

In MS, the coating around nerve fibres(called myelin) is damaged, causing a range of symptoms. More than 100,000 people in the UK have MS and symptoms usually start in your 20s and 30s affecting almost three times as many women as men. Once diagnosed, MS stays with you for life, but treatments and specialists can help to manage the condition and its symptoms. The cause is unknown and a cure hasn't yet been found, but research is progressing fast. To understand what happens in MS, it's useful to understand how the central nervous system works.

A substance called myelin protects the nerve fibres in the central nervous system, which helps messages travel quickly and smoothly between the brain and the rest of the body. In MS, the immune system, which normally helps to fight off infections, mistakes myelin for a foreign body and attacks it. This damages the myelin and strips it off the nerve fibres, either partially or completely, leaving scars known as lesions or plaques.

This damage disrupts messages travelling along nerve fibres – they can slow down, become distorted, or not get through at all. As well as myelin loss, there can also sometimes be damage to the actual nerve fibres. It is this nerve damage that causes the increase in disability that can occur over time.

Our mission is to ascend Mt Blanc as a six man team in order to raise as much money as possible for the MS Trust (70%) and The Royal Marines Charity (30%).

Aloma Watson
 
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