At 13 years old, Bobby Bajram was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), one of the youngest Australians to be diagnosed with the disease in medical history.
Today, in his early 50s, he achieved a goal that has pushed him to overcome that disease for the past 39 years. He took his first step towards climbing Mount Everest by completing “The Triple” in 23 days – 17,000 metres, 148 kilometres and three peak summits in the heart of the Himalayas.
“When I was diagnosed at 13, I was sitting in a wheelchair completely blind. And rather than give in to the disease I created a dream, a goal – I said that I wanted to walk to the top of the world and see the blue sky. Almost 40 years later, here I am.”
Although Bobby is not a surfer, his grit, determination and desire to overcome obstacles and inspire others has led him to become a Rip Curl ambassador. Originally an ambassador for Mordy’s Surf Shop on the Mornington Peninsula, when Rip Curl took over the shopfront we welcomed Bobby on to the team as well.
“The support I’ve had to achieve this dream has been incredible. It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life,” says Bobby.
The symptoms of MS mean that about half of the year, all up, Bobby spends in a wheelchair or bedridden, fading in and out of vision impairment. When the disease attacks, there’s no stopping it. And as he approached the top of the last peak, Bobby’s MS kicked in.
“My doctor said that I would die if I tried this climb, that I didn’t belong in the Himalayas. But here I am and I’ve just summited one of the hardest mountains in the world.” - Bobby
“The last peak that I summited was the hardest. I was 400 metres from the top and my MS was kicking in, I was done, I couldn’t move. Thousands of feet up, lying on the snow, I thought it was all over.
“To qualify to climb Mt Everest with my condition my doctors set the challenge of climbing The Triple. If I could achieve that, I was clear to tackle Everest. If I missed even one of the three peaks, my dream was over.