A FANSTASTIC ACHIEVEMENT
The air becomes thinner and thinner, and every breath is excruciating. As if in a trance, the man carrying a backpack and an ice axe drags himself forward. He has been climbing for two weeks now, leaving several interim camps behind him, and has now reached the final stage. He can already see the summit. Only 30 meters more across the snow-covered ridge, only 20 meters, only three steps, only one step — and then he reaches his goal. Yuval T. (32) is standing on the highest point of Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside of Asia, 6,962 meters above sea level.
The sun shines in Yuval’s face, and the mountainous expanse of the Chilean and Argentinian Andes lies at his feet. He laughs and hugs his companions. Standing at such an extreme height, the low points of life seem very far away. And yet, at this moment, Yuval remembers one of these low points — the day eight years ago in Israel, his homeland, when he was told by a physician that he had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).
“As I stood on the peak, I thought of how far I had come in coping with MS,” says Yuval. His story tells of two struggles: Yuval’s conquest of the highest mountain in the Americas and his refusal to give in to the disease. After the initial shock of his diagnosis, he literally got back on his feet.