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World-first charity challenge launched

(TRAVPR.COM) UK - November 25th, 2014 - In late March 2015, a team of 14 people will ski-tour the height of Mount Everest (8848m) over four days in the Swiss ski resort of Verbier to raise funds for The Brain Tumour Charity.

This four-day ski-touring event is the first of its kind and is being run by high altitude adventure company Secret Compass, known for its world-first expeditions and adventure travel to the world’s wildest places and most extreme environments.

The inspiration for the Everest in the Alps challenge came from Hampshire-based Rob Ritchie, whose youngest son Toby is battling a brain tumour.

Ritchie hopes that the team’s efforts will help highlight the underfunding of brain tumour research – which receives less than 2% of the UK’s £500m+ annual spend on cancer research.

Since being diagnosed with a brain tumour last year, six-year-old Toby has endured major surgery and months of chemotherapy, with more grueling treatment to come.

Ritchie said, “As a parent, having a young child diagnosed with cancer makes you feel powerless. Everything you have worked towards to provide your child with a safe future is torn up in seconds in your face.

“What can you do – give your body for his, walk to the ends of the earth, climb the highest mountain? It doesn’t work, can’t be done or makes no sense.

“But on reflection, maybe you can do something. Maybe you should climb a mountain – climb Everest or your own personal Everest. This is how Everest in the Alps came about.” 

Secret Compass’s director, Tom Bodkin, said, “This unique endurance challenge will test its team members to their absolute physical and mental limits.

“With up to four ski-touring ascents per day totaling around 28 hours – and just two hours of downhill skiing – team members will burn 10,000 calories per day: the equivalent of running three marathons back to back.

“We hope the Everest in the Alps challenge helps raise awareness of the underfunding of paediatric brain tumours, which kill more children in the UK than any other type of cancer.”

Ritchie, a managing director at Goldman Sachs, said: “As a family, we take each day as it comes. Toby is an incredibly brave boy, doing all that is asked of him with little complaint.”

Sarah Lindsell, chief executive of The Brain Tumour Charity, said: “Rob’s determination to build something positive out of Toby’s illness will bring hope to others facing the devastation caused by childhood brain tumours.

“The incredible efforts of the Everest in the Alps team will help us drive forward research into more effective brain tumour treatments for young patients, so that families in the future are spared some of the trauma the Ritchies have suffered.”

Lindsell concluded, “We are immensely grateful to all of those who have committed themselves to the challenge and will be supporting them every step of the way.”

All monies raised will go into the Everest Innovation Fund. The Brain Tumour Charity, with support from Cancer Research UK, will then fund specific research into the type of tumour that Toby and thousands of other children like him are battling: low-grade gliomas.

In 2015 Secret Compass is staging other high-altitude expeditions in Iraqi Kurdistan, Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor and Siberia’s Kamchatka peninsula. Other challenging expeditions are set for Madagascar, Panama, Armenia, Sinai, Gabon, Burma, Ethiopia and Kyrgyzstan.

Rob Ritchie, Sarah Lindsell and Secret Compass are available for interview.
For more information about the challenge, visit
For further information and media enquiries please contact: Kerry O’Neill, Marketing Director, Secret Compass on or +44 7815 896 533.

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Notes for editors

Everest in the Alps

The Brain Tumour Charity
The Brain Tumour Charity is at the forefront of the fight to defeat brain tumours and is the only national charity making a difference every day to the lives of people with a brain tumour and their families. Registered Charity No. 1150054 (England and Wales) SC045081 (Scotland). Find out more at:  or by emailing: 

Brain tumour facts

Less than 2% of the UK’s £500m+ annual cancer research spend goes on brain tumour research

Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40

Almost 5,000 people lose their lives to a brain tumour each year

Just 14% of adults survive for five years after diagnosis.

Secret Compass
Secret Compass is a pioneering expedition company creating world-first experiences for teams of like-minded adventurers. Through group and bespoke adventures, Secret Compass helps each team member achieve the extraordinary in the world’s wildest places. Founded by ex-British Army Parachute Regiment officers, its expeditions reach the planet’s most remote regions in the spirit of exploration’s earliest pioneers.

Specialist Film and TV services
Secret Compass also takes film crews, journalists and photographers to remote and previously inaccessible areas. Clients include the BBC, National Geographic, Animal Planet and Channel 4, in countries from Afghanistan to South Sudan and Uzbekistan.
Press enquiries: Kerry on UK Mobile +44 (0)7815 896 533 or UK: +44 (0)207 096 8428


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Name: Kerry O'Neill
Company: Secret Compass
Phone: +44 (0)207 096 8428
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