NEAR-DEATH experiences while tackling Kilimanjaro left a Southsea amputee feeling humble as he raised thousands in memory of a loved one.
Around 15 years ago, Lance Smith lost his left leg after an industrial accident when he was crushed by a 10-tonne digger operated by an unlicensed labourer.
However, this has not stopped the 48-year-old’s determination and drive to show his sons Evan and Rory they can achieve anything.
Lance has just climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in memory of his brother-in-law Rob Davies, who died earlier this year following a long battle with Alzheimer’s.
‘I don’t do anything by halves and I’m really passionate about a lot of things,’ said Lance.
‘Me and Rob were so close, towards the end he suffered really badly so when he was still alive I wanted to give him something, he’s basically given me my life.
‘As much as we all miss him, I’m just glad he’s not suffering anymore.’
Lance planned the challenge while Rob was alive, but after his death Lance decided to get a tattoo of Kilimanjaro and Rob’s name on his arm so he could take him on the journey.
Taking on the 5,895m mountain with little training, Lance joined a team of 11 who supported each other as four stopped before the summit due to altitude sickness.
Rob, who has a through-knee amputation, said: ‘I did underestimate how hard that was going to be. It was pretty tough for people with all their limbs, I had to concentrate on every single thing I did.’
Nearly falling off sheer drops and getting frostbitten lips were the least of Lance’s worries as he also experienced altitude sickness at the summit, collapsing and begging guides to leave him there.
Luckily, a doctor nearby gave him emergency treatment and helped him down the mountain.
Lance said: ‘I feel very lucky and blessed that I made it to the top. It was a truly humbling experience.
‘I love my life and I love the people that I’ve got. If you want to go and do something then go and live it.’
Lance raised £3,500 for Alzheimer’s Society, but insists he has other plans to keep going and raise more.
To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/lance-smith.