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  Everest 2004 Expedition: Moonshadow Step by Step for MS takes on Mount Everest

Thursday, April 29: After two nights at advanced base camp (6,400m), I returned the 22 km to base camp on Sunday, April 18. It had snowed consistently the prior day, which made my descent a little more challenging. Luckily, Mingma Tenzing Sherpa was sure-footed and carefully set out footsteps for me to follow down the East Rhombuk glacier. I arrived at BC 9 hours later, with Ganu waiting with a cup of hot orange tang and biscuits. After a warm meal and a radio call to ABC to let Dave and the team know I was down safely, I was out as soon as my head hit the proverbial pillow.

Early the next morning I was fortunate to share my bumpy jeep ride back to Zhang Mu with Viktor Koslov, the leader of the Russian Central North Face Expedition (initial ascent attempt), who was on his way to Beijing to meet with the Chinese Minister of Sport about his expedition. Iswari found me at the border so I was lucky not to have to spend the night in Zhang Mu - we continued the bumpy ride through no-mans land (the windy dirt road between the Tibetan and Nepalese border) to Friendship Bridge and continued the additional three and a half hour drive into Kathmandu. We made our 8pm curfew into the city (following about 10 army roadblocks) where later that evening I enjoyed a hot bath and room service at the very cozy Hotel Vajra. 

The team is doing very well and are making consistent progress up the mountain. Unfortunately, Kevin has had to return to Kathmandu today following a diagnosis of pleurisy. Tony and Ewen have been resting at BC as Tony was not feeling well earlier on and descended last week to 5,200 to rest, but he is now fit again and they plan to return to ABC tomorrow, taking two days for the repeat trip up with a stop over at intermediate camp.  Iain phoned last Friday to say that he had been up the North Col (7,000m) the day before and that he was feeling strong. The team returned to the North Col on Sunday where they spent two nights, including a push to 7,200m on Monday before returning to their tents on the North Col. They should have arrived at base camp yesterday where they plan to enjoy a well-deserved rest for the next 7-10 days. They will now begin to follow weather reports and will watch for windows when the winds are expected to die down. Summit attempts will likely be made between the middle and end of May. All my best to Kevin for a speedy recovery, Sandy

Friday, April 30: Iain phoned yesterday with an update from base camp, where he arrived safely in the early afternoon. As it turned out, his second descent from the North Col on Tuesday proved an extreme challenge. Suffering from what seems to have been both cerebral and pulmonary edema, most likely brought on by severe dehydration, Iain was trying to make his descent to ABC alone while extremely disoriented. Tom and Ben, who had been delayed slightly on the North Col as a result of shooting video footage and taking sponsorship photographs, fortunately came upon him as they returned to the ropes to descend. It was soon clear to them that Iain was not well. They generously shared their water and helped him down the fixed ropes all the way to ABC. While the rest of the team descended from ABC to BC on Wednesday, Dr. Mike and Paul remained with Iain, opting to make the trip in two days with a stop over at intermediate camp.

The entire team is now resting and Iain is trying to eat and drink as much as he can to help rebuild his strength. He is expected to make a full recovery. I can not thank Tom and Ben enough for bringing Iain back down to safety. Dave has done a superb job organizing logistics - my heartfelt thanks to Ben, Tom, Mike, Paul and Dave and best wishes to the entire team as they enjoy a hot shower and the thicker air at BC. I miss them all very much! Sandy

What is MS?

MS often strikes young adults between 20 and 50 years of age. Twice as many women develop the disease. MS is found most frequently among people who live in temperate climates, both in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. 

In Switzerland alone, over 10,000 people currently live with MS. The disease strikes one out of every 800 Swiss, representing a high proportion of the population compared to other countries. In the US, a third of a million people have MS.

What are its symptoms?
The symptoms of MS may include tingling, numbness, slurred speech, and blurred or double vision. Some people experience muscle weakness, poor balance, poor coordination, muscle tightness, spasticity, or paralysis which may be temporary or permanent.

Because MS affects individuals so differently, it is difficult to make generalizations about disability. 

What causes MS?
Most scientists think the cause of MS is "multi-factorial." The person's genetic heritage, gender, birthplace, age, and environment contribute to susceptibility, resistance, and the pattern of course MS will take. It is not an inherited disease, in a strict sense, but a certain susceptibility may run in families. One theory suggests that a common viral infection, acquired during early childhood in genetically susceptible individuals, leads to the development of an immune response (autoimmune reaction) when one reaches adulthood. MS appears to result from an autoimmune process in which immune cells mistake myelin as a foreign invader and attack it. 

Is it easily diagnosed? 
MS is not easy to diagnose. However, recent advances in medical imaging, particularly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), are helping to clarify diagnosis. A conclusive or definitive diagnosis requires evidence of multiple patches of scar tissue in different parts of the central nervous system, and evidence of at least 2 separate attacks of the disease. 

Is there a cure?
Although no cure exists at present for MS, many symptoms can be relieved and the severity of attacks may be reduced through the use of various treatments. There are also many therapies to moderate or relieve MS symptoms.

How to donate 
In the United States :

Please send a US draft check, made payable to the “US National MS Society” with written reference to the “ Nan J. Gascoigne Fund” to the following address:

Project MoonShadow
P.O. Box 520515
Salt Lake City, Utah 84152-0515

Because we are collecting funds through the US National MS Society, your donation qualifies as tax-deductable. By specifying the “ Nan J. Gascoigne Fund” on your check, you enable MoonShadow to maintain control of the funds and how they will be put to good use. 

To donate In Switzerland and from all other countries please e-mail us  .

They are currently working to register MoonShadow as a charitable foundation.


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