Everest: Jamie McAnsh climbs to base camp on crutches

A man on crutches has reached Everest base camp – eight years after waking up paralysed. Jamie McAnsh, from Cwmbran, Torfaen, has complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) which causes persistent severe and debilitating pain. But after an 11-day trek, Jamie has realised his childhood dream and reached base camp at 5,364m (17,600ft).

“There were times on this challenge where I didn’t think I was going to make it,” he said. “I was absolutely exhausted. It’s been an emotional time,” Jamie told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast: “It didn’t really hit me that I had done it until the next day.”

On 6 January 2014, Jamie went to bed “as normal,” but woke up the next morning paralysed from the waist down after rupturing his spine in his sleep. It took another 13 months for Jamie to be diagnosed with CRPS, which has no cure but often gradually improves over time. He had to learn to walk again – and after a gruelling recovery he has regained some of his mobility but still relies on crutches to walk.

“One of the hardest things the team had to think about was where to put their feet, but I had to think about where to put my feet and my crutches,” he said after completing his Everest challenge.

Jamie already has his next challenge in his sights, but this one is a bit closer to home. “I’ve always loved Everest, but I’ve always loved Wales, so the 800-mile coastal path is definitely up there on my list,” he said.


Mali nonuplets in perfect health on first birthday

The world’s only nonuplets – nine babies born at the same time – are “in perfect health” as they celebrate their first birthday, their father has told the BBC.

“They’re all crawling now. Some are sitting up and can even walk if they hold on to something,” said Abdelkader Arby, an officer in the Malian army. They are still in the care of the clinic in Morocco where they were born. He said their mother Halima Cissé, 26, was also doing well.

“It’s not easy but it’s great. Even if it’s tiring at times, when you look at all the babies in perfect health, [in a line] from right to left we’re relieved. We forget everything,” he told BBC Afrique. He has just returned to Morocco for the first time in six months, along with their elder daughter, Souda, aged three.

“I’m overwhelmed to be reunited with all my family – my wife, the children and me.” They will just have a small birthday celebration with the nurses and a few people from their apartment building, Mr Arby said.

“Nothing is better than the first year. We will remember this great moment we are going to experience.”

The babies broke the Guinness World Record for the most children delivered in a single birth to survive.


Antytila: Ed Sheeran collaboration written on front line

Ukrainian group Antytila have teamed up with Ed Sheeran, releasing a new song partly filmed and recorded while serving in the war against Russia. Antytila are one of the biggest musical acts in Ukraine but stopped working to join the military. Proceeds from the song, released on Monday, will go to help the people of Ukraine.

“Ed feels that pain, compassion and sympathy for Ukrainian people,” lead singer Taras Topolya told the BBC. He said the lyrics were created while he was serving as a medic on the front line in Borodyanka.
Borodyanka, just west of the capital, Kyiv, was occupied by the Russians, who left the town badly damaged. Ukrainian troops have since regained the area. After writing the lyrics, members of the group were also able to film while on the frontline in Kharkiv.

“We just stopped in the middle of the road and were singing there in the middle of nowhere,” he said.


Jacky Hunt-Broersma: The cancer survivor who ran 104 marathons in 104 days

A woman who took up running after she lost her left leg to cancer has passed the Guinness World Record for most consecutive marathons. Jacky Hunt-Broersma, 46, has run 26.2-miles every day since mid-January, normally taking around five hours. On Saturday, she completed her 104th consecutive marathon in as many days – an achievement she expects to be certified by Guinness World Records. A spokesperson said certifying the record would take around three months.

Waking up on Sunday – a day off at long last – was a bizarre experience for Jacky. “Part of me was really happy to be done,” she tells the BBC from her home in Arizona. “And the other part kept thinking I need to go running.” Her body is also recovering from the record-chasing effort, despite having stopped. “I feel tighter than I have the whole 104 marathons,” she admits. But Jacky – who was born and raised in South Africa, and has also lived in England and the Netherlands – is grateful. Because running has given her the confidence she was afraid she would never regain.


Parkinson’s disease symptoms ‘reversed’ by mini implant, trial suggests

A hospital in Bristol is believed to be the first in the world to implant a device into a brain to reverse the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Southmead Hospital surgeons used a tiny deep brain stimulation (DBS) device to override abnormal brain-cell firing patterns caused by Parkinson’s. Tony Howells, the first person to receive the treatment as part of a trial, said the impact was “amazing”.

The new DBS system, the smallest ever created, involves a tiny battery system for the device implanted into the skull. It then delivers electrical impulses directly to targeted areas of the brain. To do so, electric probes are put through the skull and deep into the centre of the brain, into the subthalamic nuclei. It takes just three hours to carry out the new operation, about half the time it used to with the larger battery.


The teen reviewing public transport for wheelchair users

A 16-year-old boy has set off across Ireland to see how accessible it is for wheelchair users to travel. James Casserly, who has cerebral palsy, has set himself the challenge to travel to all 32 counties on public transport. He reviews everything from wheelchair ramp availability to disabled toilet provisions in all the places he visits.

“I want wheelchair users to be able to go wherever they please and not have to worry about checking all that stuff themselves beforehand,” James said.

The Dublin teenager has already ticked off counties Westmeath, Kildare and Galway in the Republic of Ireland and has also visited County Antrim in Northern Ireland on his checklist so far. He is hoping to make trips across all the counties, north and south, with friends and family by either bus, train or tram by November this year.

James, who only started his travel reviews earlier this month, has already amassed over 3,500 followers on Twitter. James hopes his online reviews can go some way in helping to provide other wheelchair users with all the information they may need when they go to plan their own trips across the Emerald Isle. He also hopes it will help highlight to companies the potential issues that someone who uses a wheelchair may have when utilising public transport services.


Puducherry prison uses dance therapy to rehabilitate inmates

Prisoners in the central jail in the Indian union territory of Puducherry briefly forget their worries when they start dancing.

The “dance therapy” is part of a rehabilitation programme offered to them by prison authorities.

It’s an unconventional option – many Indian prisons are grim, overcrowded and violent spaces that offer few opportunities for inmates to rebuild their lives. But Puducherry prison officials say the programme is a hit with prisoners – who are all serving life sentences – and that there is a visible reduction in their stress levels.

Ravideep Singh Chahar, Inspector General of prisons in Puducherry, says they now hope to make dance therapy an integral part of the prison reform programme.


Young brothers found in Amazon after nearly four weeks

Two young indigenous boys rescued after almost four weeks lost in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest have been found and taken to hospital. Glauco and Gleison Ferreira, eight and six, got lost trying to catch small birds in the jungle near Manicoré, Amazonas state, on 18 February. A local tree cutter found them by chance on Tuesday. They are expected to make a full recovery after being treated in hospital for malnourishment.

After the boys disappeared, hundreds of residents spent weeks looking for them. But lost during the rainy season of the Amazon – a time which makes walking and moving in the jungle even more difficult than usual – they were nowhere to be found. Emergency services decided to call off the search on 24 February, but locals continued to search for the boys, according to local media outlet Amazônia Real.

Almost four weeks later, the boys were found by a man cutting wood 6 km (3.7 miles) from the village of Palmeira in the Lago Capanã protected land reserve where the boys live with their parents, One of the boys shouted for help when he heard the local man hitting the trees nearby. Following the calls, the man found the two boys lying on the rainforest floor, hungry and weak, with many skin abrasions.

According to local media, the two boys told their parents they had eaten nothing while lost and had only rainwater to drink.
Upon their discovery, Glauco and Gleison were sent to a regional hospital in Manicoré, before being transported by helicopter to another hospital in Manaus on Thursday morning, Globo reports.


Revolutionary heart-thymus combined transplant success

US doctors say a young boy called Easton has made medical history by becoming the first person in the world to receive a combined heart and thymus transplant. The pioneering procedure was done to save his life, but could also revolutionise the field of organ transplantation, they hope. The donated thymus tissue should help stop his body rejecting the new heart.

Months on from the surgery, tests reveal Easton is progressing well. The thymus tissue is working, meaning his body is building critical immune cells which might ultimately reduce or even eliminate the need for him to take lifelong anti-rejection drugs.

One of his doctors, Joseph Turek from Duke University Hospital, said: “We are very excited about it. This concept of tolerance has always been the holy grail in transplantation, and we are now on the doorstep.


Deaf dog learns sign language after losing hearing

A deaf rescue dog is learning canine sign language before he heads to a new home. Rocco found himself in care for a second time in just a few years after one of his new loving owners died and the other had health issues.
When RPSCA staff found the Staffordshire bull terrier had lost his hearing from an infection, they were “incredibly sad” and set about teaching him a new way to understand commands. So far, he’s learning the signs for “good boy”, “go for a walk” and “go wee”.

Sally Humphries, of Llys Nini Animal Centre, Swansea, said: “Most dogs are more in tune with our body language than our constant chitter chatter so it’s not that tricky for a deaf dog to learn.”