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June 2018 Issue
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Intensive care for Everest fundraiser

Rose Watemburg, centre, was on the trek with a group of Australians who were also fundraising for cerebral palsy

A Taranaki woman spent three days in intensive care in Kathmandu after being flown from near Everest Base Camp while attempting the trek as part of a fundraiser.

Rose Watemburg, 45, was just 320 vertical metres short of reaching Base Camp when she began struggling to breathe and said she could barely move due to exhaustion. 

“I was very ill. I ended up getting pneumonia and tachypnoea [abnormally rapid breathing],” Watemburg said. “My breathing sounded like rice bubbles crackling, which was actually my lungs. That was the most horrible sound I have ever heard.”

Watemburg spent a total of five days in hospital in Kathmandu before flying back to New Zealand in April and has since fully recovered. She was doing the trek through a guided tour and said she was prepared for the conditions.

“I think I was just unlucky, but the high altitude and cold conditions didn’t help.”

Before the trek, she spent a year raising $4500 for the NZ Cerebral Palsy Society. Her six-year-old grandson has severe cerebral palsy and is unable to walk or talk.

“I made a promise to my grandson that as long as nanna can walk, nanna can help.

“I literally walked until I couldn’t walk.”

Despite the tribulations, Watemburg said it was still an incredible experience.

“The Himalayas are beautiful. There was a peacefulness to it that I can’t describe. I would recommend it to anyone with an adventurous side.”