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Don Healy

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Posted on September 4th, 2010 at 5:55 am

Don Healy was like a lot of people. He was 60 years old and a self-proclaimed couch potato. Sure, he did some chores around the house and kept busy working on his property, but he never exercised and never went to the gym, despite joining several.

But then one summer, he hired a 20-year-old kid to help him out around his property. And after working hard all day, the kid told him it was time for them to exercise. Don says he didn't even own a pair of sneakers. But the kid pestered, cajoled and embarrassed him into at least trying out some exercises, like sit-ups, pull-ups and even some boxing.

And before he knew it, Don was hooked. He stuck with it and started feeling so good that he even began to reconsider a lifelong dream that he had long given up -- climbing Mount Everest.

But before he could start on his journey to the world's highest peak, he suffered a major health setback -- he broke his hip when he flipped his bike.

Don says he worried whether he'd even walk again, nevertheless climbing Mount Everest.  

But he did. At the age of 65, with an artificial hip, Don reached the summit of Mount Everest, becoming one of the oldest people to achieve that goal.

Don says one of the biggest lessons he's learned over the past years is that age is just a state of mind and you can do a lot more than you think.

He says he never thought he'd be able to do 500 sit-ups or climb mountains like Kilimanjaro or Denali. But that's exactly what he's accomplished.

Find out what lofty goals he's set for himself next.

Want to meet other Mount Everest explorers? Check out:

-- Stacy Allison lived to tell the tale of becoming the first American woman to reach the summit of the world's highest mountain but it took her a couple tries to achieve her goal. Click here to find out why Stacy believes mountain climbing is a perfect metaphor for life's challenges.

-- Sean Swarner is a two-time cancer survivor with only one functioning lung. Fifteen years after doctors gave him two weeks to live, he reached the top of Mount Everest. Click here to listen to our conversation.

-- Ken Mitchell
was a linebacker with Atlanta Falcons, a catcher in the California Angels organization, played basketball in college and raced motorcycles. But after a lifetime of athletics, he had both knees replaced. He thought his climbing days were over but his nine kids convinced him otherwise. Click here to listen to his description of his amazing journey to the top of Mount Everest.

-- Jeanne Stawiecki is a former two-pack-a-day smoker who gave up cigarettes to conquer the world. In 2007, she completed marathons on all seven continents and reached the summit of Mount Everest at the age of 57. Now she's listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest woman to climb the world's tallest Seven Summits. Click here to find out why she wanted to conquer such a lofty goal.

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exercise - total hip replacement - seven summits - fitness - don healy - denali - broken hip - mount everest - mount kilimanjaro - climbing - mountains

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  • Posted 9:30am September 13th, 2010


    Rainer here again. I actually answered my own question. I read on your blog that nyou actually started your mountaineering career at the age of 62. Quite an accomplishment. An inspiration to all of us.


  • Posted 9:25am September 13th, 2010

    I have always been fascinated by Mt. Everest and its climbers. It must've been such a thrill to have accomplished the climb. I know that you can't just climb Everest before trying  some smaller ascents first, so did you do Denali and Kilamanjaro after the age of 60, or did you have climbing experience prior to becoming a couch potato?

    I'll be 61 on the 14th, have a re-surfaced hip but have kept in relatively good shape even after several joint surgeries. At this point, it's still a dream but who knows?



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