While climbing Mount Everest, South African native Maria Strydom fell sick and ultimately died.
Strydom, a 34-year-old pronounced vegan and accomplished lecturer on the subject, wanted to prove to the world that vegans were not “weak” or “malnourished”.
She took on the challenge with her husband Robert Gropel, who was also injured on the trip, but is now stable.
In the weeks before attempting to climb Everest, Dr. Strydom was interviewed on why she wanted to climb the mountain. She said, “by climbing the seven summits we want to prove that vegans can do anything and more.”
She was fully aware of the challenges faced when climbing Everest, a mountain that has claimed the lives of hundreds of climbers in the last century.
As she began to climb from the Camp 4, the final camp before the summit, she got sick and had to turn back.
Her condition soon deteriorated in the camp, and she ultimately stopped breathing altogether due to a lack of oxygen.
Monash University, where Dr. Strydom previously worked as a lecturer, wrote in a statement, “The Monash University community is deeply saddened by the tragic news of the loss of Dr. Maria Strydom on Mt Everest. We are liaising with authorities and our heartfelt thoughts and support are extended to Maria’s family, her friends, colleagues and students.”
Dr. Strydom’s mother said, “Their mission is to demonstrate that vegan people can achieve anything everyone else can.”