Chris Brooke has survived aspergillosis, had 40% of one of his lungs removed and has proved that deep serious fungal infections need not limit your life outlook.
It should be mentioned that as Chris had surgery he was one of the lucky few who can have the part of their lung removed that is infected with the fungus Aspergillus. Many of those patients recover very well from such a serious operation but we have never heard of one quite so ambitious as Chris before!
Sadly most people who have an Aspergillus infection of their lung cannot be operated on like this and rely on effective management of the infection using antifungal drugs. There is still much to be done to give the quality of life back to those people that Chris now enjoys.
A Paramedic from Crewe is one of five army reservists who took part in an epic and unique memorial service for a fellow adventurer.
Chris Brooke, a paramedic from Crewe who now lives in Birmingham, is one of five who completed an Antarctic expedition in memory of Henry Worsley, who aimed to complete the first ever solo u
nsupported and unassisted crossing of the Antarctic landmass
Henry was airlifted off the ice just 120 miles short of completing his attempt and sadly died on January 24, 2016.
So Chris, along with fellow reservists Lou Rudd, Ollie Stoten, Alex Brazier and Jamie Facer-Childs, aimed to complete Henry’s planned route by January 17 after holding a memorial service for him at the Shackleton Glacier.
The achievement is particularly remarkable for Chris, who had 40% of his right lung removed after suffering from aspergillosis.
The latest expedition, called South Pole Expedition Army Reserves (SPEAR17), was led by Lou, who reached the South Pole on a previous expedition with Henry in 2012.
Before setting out, Lou said: “The memorial service will be a special part of the expedition. Travelling the second part of this route from the Pole has been incredibly challenging, and Henry has been very much in our thoughts as we faced everything Antarctica could throw at us.
“Henry’s wife Joanna has given us her blessing and I know Henry would have appreciated the idea too.”
The team set out from the coastline of Antarctica in November last year, reaching the South Pole on Christmas Day. They then continued across the continent – a route completed by just six people in history.
During the trek Lou added: “Once we reached the Pole, five of the original six were medically fit to continue and we are now within 140 miles of reaching the Ross Ice Shelf, our planned pick-up point and the end of our journey.
“Our route was changed when Henry sadly died, and the last 400 miles were in honour of Henry. We intend to complete his last journey.
“More people have landed on the moon than have walked across the continent of Antarctica. We are following in the footsteps of explorers like Shackleton and Scott.
“My friend and fellow adventurer Henry joins those Polar greats as he tested himself to the limits of endurance. In Henry’s memory, we are setting out to finish what he started.”
The expedition also raised money for ABF The Soldier’s Charity, the national charity of the British Army, to raise awareness and funds as a consequence of the trip and hoped to raise £100,000.
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/spear17.