Astronaut cum Mt Everest climber lends support to Women Journalists Everest Expedition 2018

Kathmandu, May 3 : The First Women Journalists Everest Expedition 2018 (FWJEE 18) has gained the support of Dr Scott Parazynski – the only person to have flown in space and climbed the world’s highest peak.

The astronaut provided a symbolic donation of USD 75 with a message ‘Onward and Upward’ after the girls posted a 3 min 32 sec video for fundraising. The girls came to know about Dr Parazynski’s support as they were trekking through Dingboche (4100 metres) on the way to Everest Base Camp (5,300 metres).

Dr Parazynski, an American physician and a former NASA astronaut, has five space shuttle flights and seven spacewalks and a successful climb to Mt Everest under his belt. He climbed Mt Everest on a second attempt on May 20, 2009 after an abortive attempt in 2008 when he was forced to turn back due to severe back injury.

“This is going to be the first – of – its – kind Everest expedition where a group of female journalists have teamed up and have to go to the extreme extent of climbing the highest mountain in the world and raise their voices more eloquently on several social and environmental concerns especially those surrounding girls and youths like us from the highest point on Earth,” says Rosha Basnet, expedition team member representing RSS.

“We could not contain our emotion as we learned about Dr Parazynski’s support and soul-stirring message that reads Onward and Upward”, Basnet added.

She is of the belief that garnering support in this Everest expedition from a luminary of the likes of Dr Parazynski has added value to it.

Rojita Buddhacharya, who is a science journalist with a major in astro physics, remarked that receiving an encouraging support from an accomplished astronaut as Dr Scott Parazynski from all the way from the USA ‘means a lot to us while not much people back home have understood the gravitas of this expedition’.

The team of five female journalists working in different facets of journalism in the country told the National News Agency (RSS) from EBC that they are further motivated to achieve their objectives of empowering people especially girls and youth, discharging journalistic duties along the expedition like V-blogging and to help develop positive mental attitude – ‘You too can do this’.

The female journalists set to scale the highest peak on our planet are Rosha Basnet (Rastriya Samachar Samiti), Rojita Buddhacharya (NTV), Kalpana Maharjan (Megha Television) Priya Laxmi Karki (News 24) and freelance journalist Deuralee Chamling Rai. The five young female journalists are going to climb the 8,848 metres high mountain under the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) banner and flagging the slogan of ‘Unified Voice for Equity’.

The girls are currently at EBC as part of the acclimatization rotation. They reached the base camp on the lap of Mt Everest a week ago trekking through Lukla – Namche – Pangboche and Dingboche to acclimatize.

They are gearing up for a climb to Camp 1 and 2 starting this midnight as part of the acclimatization rotation.

The journalists have managed 75 per cent of the total budget needed to scale Everest. The individual donations are still trickling in to support the girls. The total cost for a person to climb Everest stands at Rs 3.5 million. The climb will be live telecast from Nepal Television from different elevations of Everest.

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