A former Royal Marine used to pushing his body to the limit - “it’s just bread and butter of the Royal Marines” - has used his strength to climb a mountain while carrying a piano strapped to his back to raise money for a cause close to his heart.
Max Glover carried the nearly 400lbs musical instrument to the peak of the 1,007 foot high Garth Mountain in Wales, to raise vital money for the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital Trust.
The hospital trust cared for his friend Julie, a former British Army soldier who had suffered from a hereditary lung condition for a long time. Speaking to Verity Geere and Richard Hatch on BFBS Radio, he said:
“... her lungs stopped being able to work properly.
“If you imagine, when we are breathing, we’re taking 100% oxygen in and we’re able to use that but hers was going down to less that 20% ... so her body just couldn’t function.”
The hospitals are partly funded by the NHS but also rely on donations to pay for equipment to keep transplant organs viable for longer and for the latest technology. Thankfully, after a long time using oxygen tanks to help her breathe, Julie was offered a double lung transplant.
It was his friend's determination and cheerful spirit, even during her darkest times, that inspired Max to take on intense strength challenges to raise money for the hospital that saved Julie’s life. He said:
“When I saw her after the operation, she was a completely different person, she looked so healthy.
“I was like, right, they’ve given her a second chance, they’ve sorted my friend out so I’m going to try and help as best I can.”
This year, Max took his fundraising game to the next level. In 2019, the former Royal raised money for charity by completing a marathon while pulling a car behind him. He knew that he would have to raise the stakes in 2020.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic put everyone in lockdown and Max’s dream of taking on another extreme physical challenge was ruined.
He said: “I always wanted to carry a piano up a mountain so over the last year or so I’ve been silently training for it but then lockdown happened, coronavirus happened and that put a spanner in the works.”
He was no longer able to train in the gym, where he had made friends with Julie in the first place, so had to be creative. Several years ago, Max hired a unit to store a piano he had bought but had no space for at home. The combination of these two things gave birth to a cunning plan.
He said: “I actually carried it around the storage unit.
“It was quite funny because there was nobody there, but I imagine there was probably some security guys watching on.
“It used to make me laugh, they were thinking 'what is this guy doing?'”
Max only carried the piano three times before taking on the challenge, something which caused quite a stir in Cardiff. He said:
“A few people saw me and they were like, what the hell is he doing?
“I think somebody might have phoned the police actually … just after I packed it up a police car went up the road, and it’s quite a quiet road so they probably thought “someone’s trying to get away with a piano on their back!”
If you would like to donate visit Max’s JustGiving page.