Deaf trekker Mark Grimes is gearing up for another challenge to raise money to help the people of Nepal after seeing first-hand the destruction caused by April’s devastating earthquake.
Mark, from East Herrington, spent several days among the Kathmandu rubble after the 7.8 magnitude quake struck on April 25, and he wants to do what he can to help with the relief effort.
The admin worker, who is profoundly deaf and communicates only in writing, will take part in the Virgin Cyclone on Saturday.
The gruelling challenge will see him pedaling 106 miles through Northumberland to raise money for charity Community Action Nepal (CAN).
“When I visited the country in April, I met wonderful people there, and, having been caught up in the first earthquake on April 25, which I was lucky to survive, I saw first-hand the devastation it caused,” he told the Echo.
Mark had planned his trip-of-a-lifetime to the Himalayan country to mark his 40th birthday, which he celebrated in January.
It will be a tough task to ride the whole circuit with some hills to ascend. But what I will put myself through is nothing compared to what these Nepalese people and children are going through on daily basisMark Grimes
His plan had been to trek to Everest basecamp, a gruelling two-week task, which he completed successfully. He left just in time before the quake struck, triggering a catastrophic avalanche, which claimed a number of lives.
Mark arrived in Kathmandu on the morning of the first quake, which cut short his trip and prevented a long-awaited visit to a deaf school.
“I just could not comprehend what had happened,” he said. “It felt like a big, heavy freight train was passing by, but it felt strange and it was not until the ground actually moved when I actually realised it was a quake. Panic set among locals and rickshaw drivers. It was such pandemonium. I was just so scared, I had never been so scared in my life.”
Mark now plans to raise money for CAN, which helped organise Mark’s trip to the Asian country, to rebuild community projects in rural areas affected by the two recent earthquakes.
“It will be a tough task to ride the whole circuit with some hills to ascend,” he said. “But what I will put myself through is nothing compared to what these Nepalese people and children are going through on daily basis, with losing their homes, facilities and consequences of natural disaster.
“So I am appealing to good nature of Wearside folk to consider donating to help them and make my hard ride all the more worthwhile.”
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/can