MATTY Johns' Mt Everest climb for charity turned into a nightmare of dizziness and coughing up blood.
He was one of the lucky ones.
The popular rugby league personality's climb to Mt Everest's base camp in Nepal at 5364m above sea level is scary stuff.
Climbing alongside many of his Newcastle 1997 grand final-winning teammates, including Paul Harragon and Danny Buderus, Johns and a group of 29 people set off on a nine-day trek up the world's tallest peak to raise money for the Mark Hughes Foundation.
Aiming to raise $500,000 in the name of brain cancer research, the group, which also included Manly legend Steve Menzies, knew they were in for a rough trip, but nobody could have prepared them for what ended up happening.
"Some of the things that they've suffered, like, just before they got to base camp, they were just dropping like flies," Trish Johns, the wife of Matthew told Triple M's Grill Team on Wednesday.
"They were just collapsing."
She said she did not want to name the former players who collapsed on the trek in case their families had not yet been informed.
She revealed Matthew was also nearly bested by the punishing climb after suffering dizziness and coughing up blood towards the end of their journey.
She said Johns was one of just five from within the group of 29 that was still physically able to continue climbing past base camp mark.
She said that group of five managed to scale one peak higher than the base camp to reach 5550m above sea level before returning to the rest of the group at base camp.
"He and another five fellows were well enough to do that. They went up to the next mountain at 5550m," she said.
"He only got a little bit of altitude sickness towards the end. He had dizziness and he was coughing up blood. He's only told me that after they all got back to Kathmandu."
Johns' Triple M breakfast radio co-host and Panthers legend Mark Geyer said the experience will change Johns.
The group has already raised $448,125 and are less than $52,000 short of the Mark Hughes Foundation goal.
Hughes, a former Knights star who was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2013, told his foundation's website everyone has made it back to Kathmandu fit and healthy.
"All the team have been powering along the track well, there's so much wonderful scenery and amazing towns and people along the way, you just don't know where to look" Hughes said.
"To reach our summit, all together, with everyone fit and healthy is just incredible. It's just been the greatest adventure" said Hughes.
"The way I see it is, patients and families with cancer climb far harder mountains than this. This is nothing compared to what they are going through."
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