In 2001, Marc Kopp was diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis, a form of the disease with steady worsening of neurologic functioning and periods of remission. Twelve years later, the 55-year-old Frenchman has jumped from an aircraft at 32,800 feet to land on the planet’s highest mountain.
In doing so, Kopp became the first disabled person to skydive over Mount Everest.
"I feel very happy. I am exhausted but very happy," Kopp told AFP from a hospital in Kathmandu where he was taken after the jump as a precautionary measure.
Although Kopp usually relies on a wheelchair, he had to spend several hours each day on horseback during his journey through the Himalayas to reach the airstrip. He said the trek was very hard on his spine.
"There were many times in the last few days when I thought I wouldn't be able to realize my dream," he said.
Kopp, who volunteers and runs an MS support group, raised $35,885 from friends and well-wishers for the trip, and hopes that his efforts will serve as a model for others who suffer.
"I hope my action will inspire others living with this illness. I hope many more will follow in my footsteps," he said.
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