In April, a group of dedicated supporters, including a number of physicians and senior leaders from Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH), will trek 154 kilometres through the Himalayan Mountains from Kathmandu, Nepal, to the base camp of Mount Everest. The climb will commemorate the 65th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary’s first ascent to the summit and raise funds for surgical care at the hospital. The group is being led by the great climber’s son, Peter Hillary.

This will be the second time MSH physician Dr. Eileen Lougheed and husband Brandon, a senior school principal, will climb a mountain for the local hospital. They were part of the Climb to Conquer team that trekked to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro at Tanzania, Africa, in 2011. The team of 18 participants raised $550,000 for child and adolescent mental health care at MSH.  This time around, the goal is to raise funds for vital equipment to outfit a new hybrid operating room at the hospital.

“Life is definitely a journey and full of adventures, but Kilimanjaro will always stand out for me as one of the big ones because it was a very important cause with a very successful outcome – a true triumph over adversity,” Eileen said.

Every year at MSH, 28 surgeons perform more than 21,000 surgical procedures for adult and paediatric patients.  The new operating room will help MSH meet the growing demand and reduce surgical and diagnostic wait times. The new facility will feature equipment required to perform fluoroscopy—an imaging technique using real-time x-ray video that is essential to perform critical surgeries such as kidney stone removal.

The trek will also support Nepal’s needs – an area devastated by an earthquake in 2015. Ten MSH healthcare practitioners will be among the trekkers travelling to Nepal four days early to assist in the field clinic with local Nepalese doctor, Mingma Sherpa.

“Nepal is an exciting opportunity to see how medicine is practiced there and experience, first hand, the local medical challenges and to provide whatever care is possible,” said Eileen.

Expedition leader and documentarian, Ben Webster, of Canadian Productions will return to lead the team and, along with his film crew, will chronicle Trek Everest.

“It’s a privilege to share the trail with these people,” says Webster. “From the spirit of adventure to the spirit of giving back.”

The expedition team includes Clint Atendido, Allan J. Bell, David Bodenstein, Karen Chadwick, Victoria Cole, Tiffany Haidon, Carol Heck, Dr. Roberta Hood, Ronald Hulse, Dr. Martin Jugenburg, Dr. Dagmar Justa, Trisha Lawless, Brandon Lougheed, Dr. Eileen Lougheed, C.H. Craig McOuat, Dr. Mitesh Mehta, Brad Morris, Dr. Iain Murray, Stephen Ng, Caroline Pope, Susan Sheffield, Barb Steed, Paul Tennyson, Rabiah Usman, Nicholas Vardon, Maryse Wood, expedition host Peter Hillary, expedition leader Ben Webster, and expedition guide Melanie Southworth. Each team member is committed to raising a minimum of $10,000 in pledges.

Visit www.mshtrekeverest.ca to sponsor a team member or join the trek.

In the photo: in 2011, Dr. Eileen Lougheed and husband, Brandon, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in support of Markham Stouffville Hospital. Now, the couple is taking their support to new heights by taking on Mount Everest in 2018.