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Breaking News US/Australia ll Woman is first Aussie with cystic fibrosis to climb Mount Kilimanjaro


A young woman has become the first Australian with cystic fibrosis to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro  After days of brutal trekking at more than 5,000m above sea level, Meg Draffin, 25, and her boyfriend Nathan Roye summited the Africa's highest peak in July Due to cystic fibrosis, Ms Draffin develops an abnormal amount of excessively thick and sticky mucus within the lungs, airways and the digestive system  To combat the effects of the disease, Ms Draffin works out regularly It was exercising that she first came up with the idea of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro while raising money for CF along the way  'I don't want to get to when I'm older and be like "oh that was a pretty ordinary life",' she told Seven's Sunday Night  'That's why I look after myself, that's why I do everything now so that when an opportunity like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro comes I can say "hell yeah I want to do it" 'I've been working out and staying on top of my health for as long as possible So what's the point of doing all that to then do nothing and then just have an ordinary life? There's no point,' she said  Ms Draffin started intensive altitude training at a specialist gym to prepare for the 5,895 metre trek 'A lot of people say if you want to know what it's like to live with CF to breathe through a straw So I've got an advantage because I know what it's like to have that limited amount of oxygen,' she said prior to her climb  'I think the hardest part is I already have a limited amount (of oxygen) so when it's more limited it's going to be a big struggle  Ms Draffin and her boyfriend Nathan Roye set off on their trek along with porters and guides to show them the way After seven hours and 12km of intense treking, they reached Machame Camp where they stayed overnight On day two of the climb, the young couple kept their spirits high by singing along for most of the journey But on day three as they went higher, the oxygen levels started to take affect on Ms Draffin 'I just feel like there's walls closing in on my lungs,' she said 'Because it's all up hill I don't have that chance to just have a breather 'By day four, the couple had reached 3,900 metres above sea level, and were breathing with 39 per cent less oxygen Ms Draffin and Mr Roye only communicated using hand symbols in a desperate attempt to conserve as much energy as possible, as her first signs of struggle appeared By day five, the peak of the mountain was in sight, which Ms Draffin said further motivated her 'We have an end point now,' Mr Roye saidBut by half way through that day, Ms Draffin started to struggle putting one foot in front of the other  'I don't think I expected my lungs to throb 24/7 from day dot,' she said Share this article Share But she remained defiant: 'There's only one way I'm going down, and that's after going up 'Despite her can-do attitude, the lack of oxygen made even the smallest movement a battle, as she felt her lungs working against her  After a tiring day, Ms Draffin and Mr Roye made it to the sixth and final camp, at 4,680 metres and with 44 per cent less oxygen But whether or not she could go any further remained uncertain  'I think she's having doubts, and I don't want her to because I know she'll get to the top,' Mr Roye said 'It's just as much mental as it is anything else

'The final push to the summit started at midnight, leaving Ms Draffin with just five hours after arriving at the final camp to recover her strength At minus five degrees, the couple set off for the homestretch 'This is it, a year in the making Megs I'm right by your side,' Mr Roye encouraged Ms Duffrin along their final steps toward the summit 'I can't believe we're here,' Ms Draffin said as she embraced her boyfriend at the peak 'I'm so happy''I never want to let CF stop me from the big things like this That was by far the hardest thing I've ever done Ms Draffin also achieved her goal of raising much needed funds for cystic fibrosis Her climb raised more than $52,000 toward the CF Clinic at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead    Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro   The oldest person ever to summit Mt Kilimanjaro was 87-year-old Frenchman Valtee DanielAlmost every kind of ecological system is found on the mountain: cultivated land, rain forest, heath, moorland, alpine desert and an arctic summit The fasted verified ascent of Mt

Kilimanjaro occurred in 2001 when Italian Bruno Brunod summitted Uhuru Peak in 5 hours 38 minutes 40 seconds  The fastest roundtrip was accomplished in 2004, when local guide Simon Mtuy went up and down the mountain in 8:27   South African Bernard Goosen twice scaled Mt Kilimanjaro in a wheelchair His first summit, in 2003, took nine days; his second, four years later, took only six Born with cerebral palsy, Goosen used a modified wheelchair, mostly without assistance, to climb the mountain Approximately 25,000 people attempt to summit Mt Kilimanjaro annually Around two-thirds are successful Altitude-related problems is the most common reason climbers turn back  Source: World Wildlife  

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