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Woman wants to climb Mount Everest after practicing on her staircase during lockdown

On Saturday, she will be flying into Nepal before her assent to base camp begins, aiming to reach her goal on March 29.

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By Ed Cullinane via SWNS

A British police officer is to climb Mount Everest - after practicing up and down her staircase during lockdown.

PC Jessica Sowden first planned to trek up Mount Everest in 2018 but was stopped in her tracks when she developed sciatic pain in her right leg that left her bedridden in weeks.

PC Jessica Sowden. (SWNS)

In January 2019, she underwent surgery and the road to recovery began with help from the Police Rehabilitation Centre, Flint House, in Goring, Oxfordshire.

Now she plans to repay the favor by fundraising for the center and achieving her dream of getting to Mount Everest basecamp - one of the hardest but most rewarding climbs in the world.

Slowed by a global pandemic, Jessica trained by repeatedly climbing her stairs the height of Mt Snowdon in Wales during lockdown to prepare for her planned trip.

On Saturday, she will be flying into Nepal before her assent to base camp begins, aiming to reach her goal on March 29.

Crushed by her initial diagnosis, the former regional basketball player said that it was "really disheartening" to have to cancel her first 2018 planned trip.

She explained: “I had just got into a place where I felt I was in a really good head space, really motivated for the future and what I wanted to do.

“I was a fit, active person. So, from being active and being a frontline officer, I went to being sat on a sofa or led down in bed for the best part of six months.

“It was really demoralizing, really hard to be alone as well and in pain constantly – it was just horrible and it took quite a lot to come back from.”

Determined not to be defined by her injury, Jessica - who is also a family liaison officer - was determined to prove to families struggling with bereavement and trauma that you can achieve your dreams.

She said: “I didn’t want my injury be the be-all and end-all. I’ve sadly seen too many people, especially in the police, where they lose something.

Himalaya mountain peaks with clouds against the sky at sunset. Khumbu valley, Himalayas, Everest region, Nepal
(Photo by Desizned via Shutterstock)

“I wanted to show that you can have an injury, you can overcome it and not only can you overcome it, you can exceed your own and other people’s expectations.

“I have not wanted to impress anyone, I have wanted to inspire people to see if I can do it, they can do it as well.

“I deal with a lot of people who go through really traumatic events in their life, and I think when you see that, some of the things aren’t as significant when you think you have got problems.

“I think that’s helped, that resilient side of me and the role and I am grateful for the opportunities that I have.”

Jessica has used the challenge to raise money for The Police Rehabilitation Centre, Flint House, smashing her initial £5,000 ( $6,561) fundraising target.

This month, she was also named an ambassador on International Women’s Day, and has received the support of Netflix show 14 Peaks star and legendary climber Nimsdai Purja.

Chair of the Wiltshire Police Federation Phil Matthews said: “I am so very proud to support Jess’ mission to give something back to those that helped her.

“I have read her story and been lucky enough to talk to her in person. She has a wonderfully positive attitude and shows a side of our police officers that is inspirational.

“I wish her luck in her trek and congratulate her on becoming the ambassador for the charity she is collecting for. I will be following her story closely while she completes the trek.”

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