Dr. Shehla Ebrahim thanks her clients for their support at Mount Everest’s base camp (17,300 feet above sea level) in April. Dr. Ebrahim donated partial proceeds from Afterglow over the last 18 months to the Central Asia Institute.
She’s back! Congrats go to Dr. Ebrahim for climbing past Base Camp (to 18,500 ft.) and for helping to save a life en route. In our previous post, we told how Dr. Ebrahim planned on climbing to Base Camp, and donating part of the profits from Afterglow to Greg Mortensen’s Central Asia Institute. Not only would the donation support schools for poverty-stricken girls in Pakistan, “It would also be a nice way to say thanks to Afterglow clients—the men and women who have made my business successful and my climb possible,” says Dr. Ebrahim.
“It was so hard to breathe,” she continues. “Every step required a monumental effort but I felt incredible power and determination, which enabled me to press on. Afterglow has a mandate for social responsibility and I do believe in giving back. In North America, we are so blessed and it is a good thing to be able to provide for others who may not be similarly blessed.”
The Everest mission is Dr. Ebrahim’s third major humanitarian journey. In 2002, she travelled to Tibet with a group of physicians to provide free medical care to the nomads that inhabit the eastern reaches of that country. In 2006, she climbed Kilimajaro and helped raise $50,000 for Children’s Hospital.
And what about the life she helped save on her latest mission?
“At 14,000 feet above sea level, a woman staggered into our camp. She was short of breath and her sherpa guide planned to take her down 1,000 feet however, she appeared to have high altitude cerebral edema,” Dr. Ebrahim explains. When a person has this condition, he or she must be taken down to a low altitude immediately or death will quickly follow, but it was already 7 p.m. and unlikely that the sherpa could get the woman down far enough before nightfall. Fortunately, Dr. Ebrahim’s team was carrying a gamow bag—a pressurized cylinder that simulates an altitude close to 4,000 ft. below where it is used. With careful monitoring, the woman survived the night and was flown out by helicopter. She survived thanks to Dr. Ebrahim’s diagnosis and quick action.
“I felt like I was meant to be there at that time,” says Dr. Ebrahim, adding that the whole experience has galvanized her desire to perform more humanitarian work in the years to come.
Dr. Ebrahim’s journey was also covered in a detailed news story in the North Shore News, which you can read here.