A Co Down man “burst into tears” as soon as he reached Mt Everest Base Camp after making the arduous trek in memory of his late mother.
Daryl Hunter and Peter Keys, both 25 and from Moira, embarked on a two-week trek through the Himalayas to the base camp, which lies 17,600ft above sea level.
The lifelong friends took on the huge challenge in memory of Daryl’s mother, Alison Pink, who courageously fought against cancer but sadly passed away in September 2017.
The pair raised more than £4,000 for Friends of the Cancer Centre.
Daryl said he thinks his mum would have been proud of their accomplishment.
“My mum’s favourite saying was ‘I may have cancer but cancer doesn’t have me’,” he added.
“She lived life to the full, was such a positive person and didn’t get down. Without her positivity and the positive attitude she brought me up with I wouldn’t have got there.
“Half an hour from base camp everyone was exhausted but I put on the cancer centre t-shirt and it give me an extra push.
“We burst into tears as soon we reached base camp. It was pretty special.”
Daryl and Peter met the rest of their 15-man team in London before flying out to Kathmandu and on to Lukla, where they began their trek.
It took nine days to reach the base camp and a further three to make it back down.
Daryl said they didn’t quite know what they’d let themselves in for until they got there.
“We just came up with the idea and booked it two years ago,” he said.
“Not being the two fittest of fellas we started training for it by going up the Mournes to get us ready but nothing could have prepared us for it.
“We had probably trained the least out of anyone there. Other people had run marathons and iron mans and we were just two fellas who got out of breath going up Slieve Donard.
“We got there and had our eyes opened. About 30 seconds in we looked at each other and thought ‘What have we done?’.”
The pair battled -20 temperatures, chest infections and altitude sickness to reach the base camp but said they had the “best craic”.
“We wanted to raise awareness of the cancer centre because the nurses and staff did so much for my mum,” said Daryl.
“She loved it and she was so thankful. It’s not a doom and gloom place and I don’t think there’s a family out there who hasn’t used it. It was a joy to help them out.”
Friends of the Cancer Centre funds life saving and life changing projects which make a real and positive difference to thousands of cancer patients and their families.