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Finding Some Freedom.

By Charly Andrew

Having always been an outdoorsy, mountain walking, snow sporting kinda kid, it came as a bit of a shock when I was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer in 2008 aged 16. At a stage in life where I should have been fighting with my parents or a boy, I was fighting for my life and had to have nearly a quarter of my pelvis removed, along with 22 rounds of chemo and 6 weeks of high dose radiotherapy. I fought to learn to walk again. I then fought to stand on skis again. And when I found climbing, this wonderful thing where I could leave my crutch on the mats or at the bottom of the crag and find a new way to use my body something clicked. I was solving problems that weren’t related to my ongoing health issues. I was moving my body in a way that was fun, not painful. The problem was exciting, not depressing. Thinking on it now, I think a big part of climbing for me is leaving behind what feels like an enormously complicated world. When climbing, you can move up, down or sideways. You can move a hand or a foot. You can try something scary and you can easily not, and you can choose how far you want to go. For me, after the entirely f*cked up journey that is a cancer diagnosis, the relative simplicity of hanging off a wall is a very comforting kind of place to be.

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