My everyday struggles – A story of recovery: Part 2

At SQDAthletica we are passionate about helping men be fit for every challenge life can throw at you. Fitness comes in many forms and over the next few weeks we want to share the inspiring story of Andy Baker who has battled with a crippling lung disease for the last 6 years, and is more determined that ever to be fit for everything he loves in life.

To read part 1, click here.


I loved the movie ‘Free Solo’ about Alex Honnold’s attempts to climb (without ropes) the 900m vertical rock face El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.

During the final stages of my lung failure I named my staircase at home El Capitan. It became my nemesis and my daily challenge.

18 steps or 6 lots of 3 steps for me. All I could manage without a break was 3 steps. 3 steps – rest -3 steps rest. I forced myself to do it every day at least once. It would sometimes take me 30 minutes to reach the summit, and some days I would just sit at the bottom and stare up at the challenge, not wanting to put my body through the trauma of the ascent.

Losing your breath is terrifying. Every piece of reserve is used up in gasping for enough oxygen to stay functioning.

My wife, Amanda, would wait for me at the summit. She would be ready with a cool fan and a gentle massage for my shoulders which would be tense and heaving from the strain.

The courageous generosity of a stranger and their family to choose to donate organs after their tragic loss has saved my life. 6 weeks after transplant now and I’m up and down the stairs all day. With amazing support from family, friends, medical teams and a stranger, I have conquered my El Capitan.

Thanks for reading,
Andy