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Josu Feijoo climbed Aconcagua controlling their diabetes and finished his 7 summits challenge

Aconcagua.  The mountaineer form Vitoria (Basque, Spain) Josu Feijoo and teammate Jon Goikoetxea from a team of athletes with diabetes have managed to climb Mount Aconcagua - the highest mountain in South America. Josu has been climbed all times ... read more

 The mountaineer form Vitoria (Basque, Spain) Josu Feijoo and teammate Jon Goikoetxea from a team of athletes with diabetes have managed to climb Mount Aconcagua - the highest mountain in South America. Josu has been climbed all times controlling disease through 'Emminens Connect', a telemedicine system created by Roche 'Emminens Connect', which sent the message levels for mobile physicians in Spain. Josu became the third of diabetics to climb the highest peaks on all continents.

  Completion of this program a long time was postponed due of Fejoo's participation in the space program by Richard Branson. Last year he passed all tests in the U.S. astronaut training centers, but the flight is delayed. In April 2009, Josu chose the time and went to the "green continent", made an ascent of Mount Kosciuszko and Carstensz. On Aconcagua, he took with him another two diabetic climbers from other parts of Spain …

High on the Carstensz

 In 2006, Josu Feijoo climbed on the north side Everest and was on the summit on May 18, as the first diabetic in history. Two others famous diabetic Austrian Geri Winkler and American Will Cross climbed from the south. The Austrian, who came to the foot of the mountain on bike from the level of the Dead Sea (the lowest point of land on Earth) was on the top on May 20, and an American (father of six children), climbed Mount Everest on May 22. With this ascent Cross completed a program of "Seven Summits", Winkler did it two years later.

Become the first astronaut among people living with diabetes - this is now the main objective of Josu. Basque is going to fly within a team of Virgin Galactic, the private space tourism project, which implements the famous billionaire Richard Branson. During the flight, he intends to use insulin, a new generation, which has a longer effect.
With his spaceship

Now Feyo is 43 and 19 years ago he was diagnosed with diabetes type-1. He never stops mountain climbing, but only in recent years, he managed to reach a new level. He managed to establish permanent cooperation with sponsors and become almost a professional traveler. In addition to the "seven summits" on account Fahey dozens difficult climb at home and in the Alps, independent trips to the North and South Poles, and much more. Josu married, wife's name is Tanya and their daughter grows up.


"I have learnt how to exploit it, but not just for Josu Feijoo, more than anything I’ve done it for the whole group"
Published in : Enthusiast Written by Lorea Arakistain on 2009-04-06

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way”. And as far as this mountaineer is concerned, there’s no doubt that there is. He will shortly be packing away his mountaineering boots and, wrapped up in an astronaut’s suit, will be heading into Space. If everything goes according to plan, he will be the very first diabetic astronaut. So far, he is the first diabetic to have reached the two Poles and Mount Everest.

You’re going into space!

When I was five and used to write to the Three Kings of the Orient, I used to put: “I want to be an astronaut”. And yes, I can say that Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar, and Santa Claus or Olentzero do exist. Because in a few months’ time my dream is going to come true and I’m going to be so proud to be able to take my country’s flag, the ikurriña [the red, white and green Basque flag], into space.

Aren’t the eight thousand metre peaks close enough to the sky?

Mountaineering is a way of life, I’m going to be a mountaineer all my life. Life goes on, you meet that challenge, you do the North and South Poles, you scale 8,000 metre peaks, Mount Everest... But age, the social commitments you have with respect to research… cause you to close some circles and open up others. And if you combine the fact of closing certain circles with your dream of becoming an astronaut, you get the right chemical combination to make this little reality come true.

How did this proposal come about?

5 years ago when I was surfing the Internet, I saw that an American company was designing a spacecraft. I started sending e-mails to support the venture. And then to my surprise they sent me an e-mail thanking me for my encouragement and asking what they could do for me. I replied immediately saying: “I want to be an astronaut.” And they said: “You could try, only you’ll have to pay for the fuel.” And that was it.

And who is going to pay for the fuel?

A trip into space is terribly expensive, it costs thousands of millions. I spoke to the laboratories, to the companies that had been sponsoring my climbing projects. I have the support of some Basque companies that would love to see the ikurriña in Space, thanks to a few Basque politicians who spoke to them. These companies are not after the marketing, but are doing it to support the chronically ill. The impact that my trip is going to make as a chronically ill person is considerable. Nothing is going to be impossible any more. It will be complicated, but not impossible.

You’re going to conduct an experiment, and it won’t be the first one, will it?
We’re going to experiment with a new kind of insulin in which the hormone has been slowed down to a maximum. It isn’t about the hope of a cure but about improving quality of life. We’re also going to try out a new device for measuring glucose in the blood; it’s more modern and has a telemedicine system.

An adventurer, How and since when?

In the Basque Country being a mountaineer is easier than unwrapping a lollipop. But I don’t regard myself as an adventurer, although I do get itchy feet. I would never have thought that because I scale mountains that there would be companies that would want to acquire my image rights and that I could live off that. Although I’m in no doubt that this will soon be coming to an end.

A diabetic can’t be a fire fighter but can be a mountaineer or go into space.

There are people who have climbed with me and who cannot be forest rangers. It’s today’s Spanish legislation that imposes these barriers on us. I know that when many school kids find out I’ve reached the summit of Mount Everest, they say: “Why not?… I can do the same sport”.

How has diabetes changed your life?

It has transformed it. It started when I was 23. With your first wages you like having a night out, but all of a sudden an endocrinology specialist appears and tells you to forget everything you used to do and that you have to change all your habits. I was depressed for nine months; I had a really bad time. But then I realised that I didn’t want to live for diabetes.

You say you are finding out how to exploit your diabetes.

I can’t hide the fact that there are companies out there. I think I have learnt how to exploit it, but not just for Josu Feijoo, more than anything I’ve done it for the whole group.