Man shielding with leukaemia to climb height of Mount Kilimanjaro on his stairs

A man with leukaemia who is shielding during the coronavirus pandemic has begun a five-day climb of his staircase to replicate the height of Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for a blood cancer charity.

Father-of-two Paul Carless, 52, a consultant from Mortimer, Berkshire, will walk up and down his 12-step staircase more than 2,000 times for five hours every day from Sunday morning to Thursday afternoon for Blood Cancer UK.

Mr Carless, who was diagnosed with leukaemia in December 2013, was scheduled to climb the real mountain in Tanzania this week, but his plans were interrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.

He will instead replicate the ascent wearing full kit and carrying a bag with all the equipment he would have needed for the real journey.

The challenge was inspired by the song Kilimanjaro from the Calendar Girls musical, written by Tim Firth and Gary Barlow.

Just over £2,000 has been raised for the cause as of Sunday morning.

Mr Carless told the PA news agency: “The reason I’m doing this is to try to raise funds for Blood Cancer UK, which like other charities across the UK, has seen its income nose-dive off a cliff because of the pandemic.

“Also to raise awareness of blood cancer – many people have been shielding up and down the country and it’s been an incredibly tough time for everyone.

“I personally have had no income and it’s been quite mentally challenging having to stay indoors.

“But I’ve been able to keep busy by training for the challenge, doing five to six mile walks at night, socially distanced from people, so that’s kept me mentally focused during the period.”

He added: “I’m sure the challenge will be difficult as I’ll be carrying all the equipment needed if it was being done for real, but it’s a great test of the mind and body and, more importantly, a fantastic cause.”

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