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Canadian Heart Attack Survivor Eyes Everest in 2020

Mountaineer Leonard Namen launches fundraiser for Heart & Stroke that will culminate in a summit attempt in 2020

After a heart attack in April, 2018, Leonard Namen has decided to take his heart to the highest level by attempting to summit Mount Everest in 2020, while raising $500,000 for Heart & Stroke. If he’s successful, he might be the first Canadian heart attack survivor to make the summit.

Namen was raised in Bogotà, Colombia, where he grew up mountain climbing. Over the years, he’s climbed a number of big peaks, including reaching the top of Pico de Orizaba—the third highest peak in North America—just two weeks before his heart attack.

That climb wasn’t just for him, it was a fundraiser for orphans in the city of Orizaba, and likewise, his drive to reach the top of Mount Everest isn’t entirely self-motivated. Since his heart attack, Leo has connected with other people living with heart disease through Heart & Stroke, and he hopes to make a difference for others with heart disease—particularly women, who are under researched—by raising money to support heart health.

“I’ve climbed mountains to help people in need, and this time I decided I was going to climb to help myself and others in the same position as me,” he said. “Maybe this time it isn’t about underprivileged people, it is about people like me who have gone through a heart attack and are struggling.”

“We are so energized by Leo’s epic adventure,” says Meredith Bongers, Heart & Stroke Area Manager, Northern Alberta & Nunavut. “In the past year, Leo has been a source of inspiration for so many Canadians living with heart disease. This amazing fundraiser that he has embarked on speaks to his philanthropic spirit and unwavering commitment to health!”

Leo’s fundraiser for Heart & Stroke launched today at support.heartandstroke.ca/goto/Everest2020, and he will be sharing his journey on social media as he prepares to likely be the first Canadian heart attack survivor to summit Everest on Facebook: @hearttothehighest.