Dr Sean Egan
Update: Friday 6th May, 12pm.
By Terry Kell
“Namaste” and thank you Sean.
It has now been a week since
I received Harold’s first call early on Friday morning. It was 1:20am. Harold
called to let me know that Sean had requested to be evacuated by helicopter
back to Kathmandu but that he wasn’t in any danger. It was a decision that
Sean made because he didn’t feel strong enough to make the trek to Pheriche. I
put the phone down thinking that it was a wise decision and typical of Sean.
He didn’t want to risk injury on the trail. I went back to sleep.
The next call from Harold
came about an hour later….”Terry, Sean’s dead!” I made Harold repeat himself
several times. The delay in transmission over the satellite phone made
Harold’s voice garbled and difficult for me to understand. I thought I was
having a very bad dream. I’m sorry Harold if I made it more difficult for
I am truly grateful that Sean
called me one day and asked me if I was interested in participating in his
planned expedition and climb to the summit of Mount Everest. If he knocked on
my door tomorrow, I would go with him again in a heartbeat. My adventure with
Sean and the other members of the team was a wonderful experience that I will
share with anyone who will listen.
It was a privilege to know
Sean. As Sean and I worked together on preparing for the expedition he began
to share his experiences with me, his goals and his dreams. As I learned more
about Sean, I began to personalize his vision about leading a healthy life
though physical fitness. Very quickly I developed a tremendous amount of
respect and admiration for him and his achievements. The expedition became a
shared vision with similar goals.
Sean was a very modest man
who did not seek the limelight. He never expected the level of media interest
in his plan to climb Everest and, more importantly, why he was doing it. Sean
wanted to make a difference in the general health of people. For Sean,
reaching the summit of Everest was just a higher podium from which he could
get his message out about physical and mental fitness. He was very concerned
about the health of today’s kids, particularly in North America. Sean was
alarmed at the growing number of overweight children due to both poor diet and
lack of exercise. He was also concerned about the health of adults.
Sean led the expedition team
by example. He never asked any of the expedition team members to do something
he wouldn’t do himself. He was always thinking about the team - making sure we
were well prepared and equipped.
One day, on the trek to Base
Camp, I was cursing Sean at dinner. It had been a very tough day for me
because of the height of the trail and I was cursing him for not telling me
about the trail and some of the drops. He just replied with a twinkle in his
eye and a smile, “If I told you everything, you might not have come. Besides I
knew you could do it”. And he was right.
The following day was another
tough one for me, having to trek along a narrow trail with a very steep drop.
That day, Sean walked behind me and coached me through the more difficult
sections. In a sense that section of the trek became my own Everest and Sean
was there to help me, for which I am very grateful.
This past week has been very
tough for everyone who Sean touched. The number of emails that I and the other
members of the expedition have received from people around the world is
amazing. Many of these people never met Sean and only learned of him through
the blog and the media. I would like to thank everyone who sent their best
wishes to the expedition team members. I especially want to thank Harold Mah.
I can only imagine how difficult this past week has been for him. It gave all
of us here a great deal of comfort knowing that he was looking after Sean and
taking care of his children.
Sean was cremated this
morning in Kathmandu in a very beautiful service. I spoke with Seamas and
Anna, Sean’s two children and they are both doing very well. I also spoke with
Harold and he will be sending out a blog later today or early tomorrow to tell
us about the day’s events and future memorial plans in Ottawa.
Seamas, Anna and Harold also
took the time to visit Child Haven which was a place of special interest and
significance to Sean.
I don’t believe that Sean
would want any of us sitting around feeling sad about his passing…at least not
for very long. Instead he would want us to move onto more positive things. We
should begin to celebrate his life. There are, and will be, many, many
wonderful things that will come from Sean’s accomplishments and contributions.
The expedition team is already working on several charitable initiatives in
Sean’s name that will help others and carry on his legacy. As soon as the
plans are finalized they will be made public through the blog, the media and
the Kanatek website.
I hope that by knowing that
there are already many good things being planned gives you all some comfort.
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