Disabled woman braces harsh weather to reach Everest base camp

Disabled woman braces harsh weather to reach Everest base camp
Standing tall: Yu, who lost her left leg in a road accident 16 years ago, rejoicing after making it to the base camp of Mount Everest last year.

PETALING JAYA - She once thought everything was over after losing her left leg but Agatha Yu showed that she is made of sterner stuff and stood tall when she made it to the base camp of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world.

Yu, 32, is a former Penang state badminton player and an athlete in school but everything changed after a road accident robbed her of her left leg at the age of 16.

Life was difficult as she struggled to come to terms with her condition. One day, she attempted to take her own life but was saved by her mother.

"I was living in denial. I always told myself that I didn't mind or care what others thought of me. But in truth, deep down inside, I cared," she said in an interview.

In 2012, when she heard news of a friend taking his own life, Yu decided to change and use herself as an example to show others that although she had lost so much, she was still strong and could face any obstacle.

"I wanted to remove myself from my comfort zone and challenge my physical condition. The idea of climbing to the Everest base camp came about then," said Yu, who is now a motivational speaker and programme manager.

Bracing harsh weather and aided by crutches, she managed to climb to the base camp, which is 5,200m above sea level, last year.

"I did not go through any special training prior to the expedition. I go to work by train and travel on buses almost every day. As such, I walk a lot and climb the stairs every day," Yu said, adding that she planned to write a book about her journey and donate the proceeds to charity.

"I also plan to use part of the proceeds to organise a transformation camp for the disabled, orphans and teenage students from poor families."

She said she planned to climb to the peak of the 8,848m Mount Everest as part of a long-term plan in the next eight to 10 years.

On the most important lesson she has learnt from her journey, Yu said: "Nothing is impossible if you put your heart in it.

"As long as the intentions are good and genuine, just do your part and everything will fall into place."

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