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Parks still hopes to finish 737 Challenge.

FORMER Wales rugby international Richard Parks still hopes to complete his record-breaking 737 Challenge, racing against the calendar to beat frostbite.

Doctors diagnosed frostbite in the 33-year-old Pontypridd-born adventurer's right big toe after he climbed Mount Everest, but Parks still hopes to raise pounds 1m for Marie Curie by climbing the highest summits on the seven continents and trekking to the North and South Poles in seven months.

Parks, a former Pontypridd, Leeds, Perpignan and Newport Gwent Dragons flanker, has seen three specialists in the past week, having already been assessed by two doctors in Nepal. But medical advice has varied, with estimates of between three weeks and three months for the tissue to heal.

Parks needs to scale Denali, the highest mountain in North America, and Elbrus in Russia, to finish the extraordinary feat, which began on December 10.

He said: "I have got a very good chance of keeping all the tissue or only losing a small area of tissue. However, the dilemma I have is really that I don't have three weeks to three months. In an ideal world I should be leaving for Alaska on Monday.

"I'm able to push this back, but only so far really.

"The bottom line is that I can't [say how likely it is]. I'd love to say it was 70/30 that I'd go - I'd love to say it was 50/50 if I'm honest - but the honest truth is I don't know."

Parks also has the option of being the first man to make the achievement in a calendar year.

CAPTION(S):

* Richard Parks is suffering from frostbite

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 6, 2011
Words:269
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