Halifax businessman Jonny Brayshaw is embarking on a trek to Everest base camp on Saturday in memory of Lewis Hilton, who died from meningitis in January.
Lewis was the best friend of Johnny’s son Joe, who did the Leeds Triathlon earlier this year for the charity Meningitis Now, who Jonny is also raising money for.
Lewis, 19, died of meningitis having only been admitted to Calderdale Royal Hospital two days earlier having displayed flu-like symptoms.
Jonny, from West Vale, said: “Lewis was a great lad. I’ll always remember his big cheeky grin whenever he walked through the door.
“He always had something sarcastic to say, you never saw him not smiling.
“Joe knew him since Junior School and was a big part of his life. It was a massive shock when it happened. It hit us all really hard, it was just awful.
“To see your son go through that suffering of losing a childhood friend was difficult.
“It was only nine weeks after when Joe did the triathlon, and he’d not really trained for it so it was a big challenge for him.
“I’ve always fancied going to Everest, and we spoke about it and I said I’d like to do it, in memory of Lewis and to raise money and awareness of meningitis.
“I try to tell as many people as I can to go to Boots and get a meningitis vaccine because I don’t want to see that happen to anyone else. It can happen so quickly.”
Jonny, who has raised more than £3,000 so far, will be away for three weeks when the group he is travelling with flies from Manchester Airport, eventually arriving in Kathmandu, where they will be met by guides.
The group will trek from the airport to get acclimatised before arriving at the main village on the trail on day four.
“Once we leave there it’s pretty barren,” he said. “From there it’s a climb off the beaten track towards the base camp, which is at 17,500 feet.
“Then we arrive at a ridge at 18,500 feet which gives you the best view of Everest, and there we’ll watch the sun rise.
“Then after that we start going back.
“I hope my body copes with the altitude.
“I know the weather can be quite bad and the airport we fly to has one of the shortest runways in the world.
“But I will do it, no matter how I feel.
“The support I’ve had has been amazing, which just shows the generosity of local people and how much Lewis meant to everyone.
“It’s a great charity, just for the counselling alone that they offer families.
“Hopefully it will raise plenty of money which can be put to good use.”
To donate, visit https://lewis-hilton.muchloved.com/Fundraising/Events/42305553/Donations.