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Death’s Life Lesson: Hold Your Loved Ones Tightly

Dr. Beck WeathersSAN FRANCISCO (Jan. 25, 2015) — You might say that Dr. Beck Weathers was blinded – but now can see.  His is a story of how the moment he nearly died taught him what was really important in his life.


Weathers was among a climbing party that in 1996 pushed toward the summit of Mount Everest and ran instead into flat-out disaster.  A storm ripped his team to shreds. Most died. Weathers was left for dead. 


Weathers shared his emotional story of perseverance this morning at an inspirational service at the 98th annual National Automobile Dealers Association Convention & Expo.

A practicing pathologist in Dallas, Weathers was on the final leg of the Everest trek when he was blinded by high altitude. He stayed behind while his party continued toward the peak.  Exhausted and late, they returned to him, but then came a powerful storm overtook them.  Everyone stumbled, directionless, in icy, white-out conditions until it became obvious: Some of the team wouldn’t make it to camp, even if the others could find it. 


Weathers and three others were left behind.  They slowly succumbed to hypothermia.  But somehow, nearly 24 hours later, Weathers opened his eyes, raised himself from the snow and made his way to the camp.  He was airlifted to safety in the highest helicopter rescue on record.


The physical aftermath was devastating. Weathers lost his hands, parts of his feet, his nose and other body parts. 


“You learn a variety of lessons,” he said. “I am an entirely ordinary individual. If I can survive the unsurvivable, so can you.”


Weathers embarked on the climb, as he did many other adventures, as a way to find peace.  But the disaster made him appreciate that “was in my own backyard all along.”


“The only thing that matters are the people you hold in your heart and the people who hold you in theirs,” he said. “I traded my hands for my family and future. That’s a bargain I readily accept.”


Known as “The Automotive Industry Event of the Year,” the NADA show runs concurrently with the American Truck Dealers Convention & Expo.  Both shows conclude today.