Back in 2015, Toothill was diagnosed with bowl cancer and underwent treatment to beat that disease. Doctors said that his cancer was in remission and he was given a clean bill of health. But early in 2016 he was told that the cancer had returned, and he has been battling it ever since.
Ian tells the BBC that he has climbed in the Himalaya in the past, and it has been a lifelong dream to attempt Everest. He is currently trying to raise £250,000 ($313,000) to pay for the expedition and to provide funds for the Macmillan Cancer Support organization, which offers a variety of types of assistance to cancer patients at various stages of their treatment. So far, he has pulled in more than £18,000 ($22,590)
If successful in his efforts, Toothill would become the first cancer patient to climb Everest. With that in mind, he has been busy training and preparing for the altitude in any way that he can prior to leaving for Nepal, which will likely occur at the end of March or early April, when most of the climbers start to arrive.
The personal trainer says that he has always had a thirst for adventure, which was cultivated further by his service in the military. In addition to climbing in the Himalaya for three months, he has also trekked across Iceland, solo and unsupported. Everest would be the biggest challenge of his life however, which is why he is looking to take on the mountain now. He also hopes to use his expedition as inspiration for other cancer patients.
Toothill has set up a GoFundMe page for anyone who is interested in donating to his cause.